Meet Team Tampa PKD
Their Next Challenge:
The 2016 Marine Corps Marathon
I thought I was done running Marathons. No. Seriously. I was done, but I was never done being involved with raising awareness, education, advocacy and financial support for The PKD Foundation.
This will be my 17th marathon and 8th Run for PKD event, and so far my Team Tampa PKD has raised over $100,000 to help with research, clinical and scientific grants, fellowships, etc.
Now my amazingly beautiful and talented wife Erika Schofer Bragan is in end stage renal failure and if she does not find a kidney donor will need to go on dialysis very soon. It has always been personal, but now it is crucial as we search for a living donor O+ or O- only.
Help us spread the word and get involved as an advocate, so no one faces this disease alone.
God Bless & Finish Strong!!
Most of you who will be reading this know how much I love to run, but it wasn’t always that way. I began my running “career” in 2008 raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and signed up to run a marathon. Ever since then, running has helped me through many challenges and without it,
I don’t know where I would be. I use my running to quiet my mind, listen to what matters and have a physical form of release as well as give back to others. One way I have maintained the discipline of running has been to train for and run in distance races. This provides me with the challenge/reason I need to keep me going, to afford me the opportunity of the benefits I receive from my time in my running shoes.
While I love running, my plan was to take this season off from training for another marathon…life and destiny had other plans.
This time I run for the cause of a friend, I will push the distance to make a difference, with your help. I am excited to be running my 2nd Marathon in NYC while beginning my involvement with the PKD Foundation and Team Tampa PKD with my friend and fellow runner, Scott Bragan.
It was at a local running group where I met Scott, who reluctantly shared his story regarding his wife Erika's illness.
Scott's team has been formed in support of his wife Erica, who suffers from PKD. The Bragan's are a wonderful, close knit family and I am honored to run in support of Erica's fight.
As a proud member of their team, I am asking for your generous support in the Run for PKD program to help raise funds and awareness for Polycystic Kidney Disease. The Run for PKD program is one of the signature fundraising events for PKD patient education and research. I realize how tight finances are for families these days. I'm asking for any donation (tax deductible) that you, and/or your company, can make to help make a difference. My total goal to reach by October 1st is $3,500. I want to meet my goal so that I can help make a difference for a beautiful mother, wife and athlete who has some true challenges. I thank you so much, in advance, for your support!
Run strong, live proud, and do for others.
I have been involved with Team Tampa PKD from the beginning, immediately after meeting Scott Bragan in a Boot Camp class. At the time, I really wanted no part in running a marathon, but after hearing Erika's story, I immediately signed up. Then after actually meeting this amazing woman, wife and mother, I knew I made the right choice.
Wouldn't you know it, I got hooked and have run numerous marathons since that first one. Two of which were after swimming 2.4 miles and biking for 112.
Since that first one, 6 years ago, we have raised well over $100,000 for the PKD Foundation.
This time it is a little more personal. The disease has progressed in Erika to a point where soon she will need to start dialysis and go though a kidney transplant. This is a huge undertaking for Team Tampa PKD. Please help us raise awareness for Polycystic Kidney Disease and support us to find a cure.
Over twenty years ago I moved to Tampa for college as time goes by things change family, work and fitness goal and activities. In 2007 befriended a group at the South Tampa Lifestyles now LA Fitness in Hyde Park. I joined a morning Bootcamp group that challenged me at every class as I got to know the group I found out they were training for a Chicago Marathon, running 26.2 miles was never in my personal vocabulary however the group encouraged me to run and train with them. I started running just a mile or so to running a 5K, 10K, 15K and eventually a half marathon.
The same year I did my first half marathon, my friends Rich Odea, Brad Minus and Scott Bragan encouraged me to get in the lottery for the Chicago Marathon they too were running in. They were running with group called PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) at the time like most people I did not know what PKD stood for or what impact it had on those who have the disease nor did I realize PKD is the forth cause of Kidney failure.
I was successful in winning a spot for the Chicago Marathon and had the opportunity to run with the PKD Chicago Team. I was also educated more about the disease due to one of my close friends Scott Bragan’s wife Erica has this disease which is passed through genetics, and does not skip a generation and that there is 50% chance that the parent with PKD will pass this disease to their children Scott and Erica have two children Madison and Spencer.
In May 2015 I found out that a longtime Tampa friend of mine Tony Canizares is donating one of his kidneys to USF college friend and former roommate of his who has PKD ,currently Tony’s friend is experiencing renal failure and will undergo a transplant surgery with Tony this July 2015. Tony selfishly is undergoing this transplant so his friend can live.
On November 1, 2015 I have the chance to run on the PKD New York City Marathon Team. Together we will raise funds to help find a cure for the disease as well as build awareness for the disease and the need for more qualified donors like my friend Tony Canizares. Erica can use a kidney from donor that has O- or O+ blood type. Each of the PDK Team Members have committed to raising funds as well as spreading the word about PKD and a need to find a cure and for facilities that can help treat those that are suffering from PKD.
Please consider donating to myself Kevin O'Brien and the NYC PKD Team by visiting www.t2pkd.org. Any type of donation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading my bio and please consider donating to Team Tampa PKD.
I am excited to be running the NYC Marathon to support the PKD Foundation. As one of the founding members of Team Tampa PKD in 2009, this will be my 4th marathon for this wonderful organization.
In late 2007 and shortly after moving to the Tampa Bay area, I lost my father. I missed the chance while my dad was alive to show him I could be a healthy weight and an athlete. I also missed out on saying goodbye while I still had the opportunity. This had a profound impact on my life going forward. For most of my life, I struggled with weight and when I lost my dad, I was in poor health and weighed in over 265 lbs. My dad’s passing inspired me to change my life and become an inspiration to others with similar struggles. I started slowly but successfully lost over 70 lbs and took on as many physical and athletic challenges as I could find. I began competitive racing 5k’s to half marathons but I knew something was missing and wanted to do something greater to honor him. I wanted to run a marathon and do it in my hometown in front of my family and friends who witnessed my lifelong struggles with weight. I knew this would be quite the challenge especially because at the beginning of my journey, I could not even slowly jog for 5 minutes without stopping to walk. As fate would have it I met Scott Bragan and his wife Erika in early 2009 and learned about their journey, I knew I needed to become involved. Scott told me he was planning to run the 2009 Chicago Marathon for PKD and the rest is history. This was the perfect opportunity to honor my father while giving back and helping save lives.
4 marathons later over 6 years, our team has successfully raised over $100,000 to help in finding a cure. But this year we face one of our greatest challenges. Not only are hoping to continue our efforts to raise awareness and financial support for the PKD Foundation, our teammate Erika Bragan; a wife, mother and friend who is dire need of a kidney which we are hoping to find a donor for her as soon as possible. We hope you can support us in our efforts to put an end to this awful disease.