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In the 1960s, people with kidney failure had little hope of survival. Dialysis was considered an extraordinary treatment and restricted to very few. Transplantation was still experimental.

It was during this time that a young Montreal architect, Morty Tarder, died from kidney disease. Confronted with their son’s death, the Tarder family vowed to start an organization that would raise money for research into this poorly understood disease. In 1964, The Kidney Disease Foundation of Canada, as it was known then, was created in Montreal.

Today, our Foundation is a national health charity committed to kidney health and to improved lives for all people living with kidney disease. Our vision for the future is an enduring legacy of those dedicated volunteers who, over 50 years ago, started out with a compelling cause and the resolve to make a difference.

History timeline

  • 1965 - First child-testing program to screen for kidney disease
    With the support of Dr. John Dossetor, The Kidney Foundation establishes kidney research as a high priority. The Women’s Auxiliary of the Foundation organizes the first child-testing program to screen for kidney disease.
  • 1968 – First Major Fundraiser
    Launch of the first major fundraiser, the “Trick or Treat” campaign, endorsed by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
  • 1974 – Reaching 10k volunteers
    The Kidney Foundation is now an important Canadian health charity with more than 10,000 volunteers nationally. Information brochures on kidney disease and dialysis become available to the public at large and more than a million organ donor cards are distributed.
  • 1979 – First Summer Camp for Children on Dialysis
    Inauguration of the annual, nationwide Door-to-Door Campaign to raise funds for kidney disease research. The Foundation allocates $1 million in research grants and holds its first summer camp for children on dialysis in Kelowna, BC. March is officially declared Kidney Health Month in Canada.
  • 1982 – First Edition of the Living with Kidney Disease patient manual
    The first edition of the Living with Kidney Disease patient manual becomes available in both English and French.
  • 1987 – Higher Involvement Reached by the Foundation
    Over half of all non-governmental kidney disease research in Canada is now funded by The Kidney Foundation. Our BC Branch successfully advocates for the reversal of a provincial decision to not allow payment for cyclosporine treatment for transplant recipients. Our Quebec Branch succeeds in having an organ donation consent form placed on the back of newly issued Medicare cards
  • 1994 – Over $37M Invested in Research to Date
    The Kidney Foundation boasts 13 branch offices and 93 chapters across the country, and over $37 million invested in research to date. We host a national dialysis symposium and introduces an Endowment Fund.
  • 1995 – Links to Success
  • 1996 – Launch of the Medal for Research Excellence
    Launch of the Medal for Research Excellence, presented annually to a Canadian researcher who is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in kidney-related research.
  • 1999 – Comprehensive survey
    We undertake a comprehensive survey, involving 18,000 patients across Canada, to assess educational and emotional support services. Findings reveal that a large group of patients live over 50 km from their treatment team and many are living below the poverty line.
  • 2004 – KRESCENT
    Launch of the first competition of the newly created Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program (KRESCENT) to cultivate the next generation of kidney researchers.
  • 2006 – KIDNEY CONNECT Peer Support Program & Living Organ Donor Expense Reimbursement Program
    Launch of the KIDNEY CONNECT Peer Support Program and the Living Organ Donor Expense Reimbursement Program (LODERP), a 3-year pilot project to reimburse living kidney and liver donors for related expenses such as travel, accommodation and loss of income. This BC pilot project becomes a model to develop and implement similar programs across the country.
  • 2007 – Horizons 2015
    We host Horizons 2015, a national research consensus conference to define research directions for the Canadian kidney health community and describe areas where capacity building is required to support the identified strategic directions.
  • 2011 – Launch of the Kidney Community Kitchen
    Launch of the Kidney Community Kitchen, an online nutrition resource for people living with kidney disease. The Kidney Foundation partners to support CANN-NET, a research network to improve knowledge dissemination and care of patients with kidney disease.
  • 2013 – Canadian National Transplant Research Program
    In partnership with the federal government, the Foundation supports a multi-million-dollar initiative, the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) to address barriers to increase organ and tissue donation in Canada and enhance the survival and quality of life of Canadians who receive transplants.
  • 2014 - Online Risk Assessment Tool
    Launch of an online risk assessment tool for kidney disease available in four languages
  • 2016 – Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease
    Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease (Can-SOLVE CKD) is announced as one of several recipients of a five-year, multi-million investment by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. The Foundation partnered with the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) to support years of planning and development for the application and is providing ongoing project support.
  • 2018 – Report on the Burden of Kidney Failure Out-of-Pocket Costs
    Our report The Burden of Out-of-Pocket Costs for Canadians with Kidney Failure shows a significant proportion of Canadians undergoing dialysis treatment experience financial hardship.