It was 2007 and Neil Palmer was training for an upcoming boxing match. Having been a fighter all his life, he was used to the slight discomfort from training but became alarmed when he began having serious health issues. He went to the ER due to the amount of blood in his urine. The doctor came in and asked Neil to take a seat. The doctor explained that Neil had “tons” of cysts on both of his kidneys and that he probably had cancer or Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Neil knew what was wrong with him. He had PKD. It runs in his family. His grandfather and mother both have PKD and now Neil was diagnosed as well. PKD is one of the most common life-threatening genetic kidney diseases. PKD affects thousands of Americans and millions worldwide. It is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure, and there is no treatment or cure. Fluid-filled cysts develop on both kidneys. Over time, these cysts grow and multiply, causing the kidneys to increase, sometimes dramatically in size. Although a normal kidney is roughly the size of a human fist, PKD kidneys can grow to be the size of a football or larger and weigh as much as 38 pounds each.
A few months ago, Neil and his wife Angie were delivered another blow. Their beloved 3-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, was diagnosed with the disease as well. At first Neil felt guilty that he passed this disease on to someone so precious and innocent, and then anger set in. Instead of a self-destructive anger it was anger toward the disease itself. Because Neil is a fighter, he started looking at PKD as his opponent. He has now made it his mission in life to help raise awareness and money for a cure. Brooklyn will be leading the Children’s Walk at the event on Saturday September 20. Elsa from "Frozen" will be joining in the Children’s Walk as well.
The 11th Annual Walk for PKD/Run the Square 5K takes place on September 20 in Southlake Town Square. Registration opens at 7 a.m., the 5k Run at 8 a.m., Children’s Walk is 9 a.m. and the one-mile Walk for PKD at 9:30 a.m. For more information or to register, go here.