Elizabeth "Liz" Cannan, Chairperson, B.A.D. (Be A Donor) and founder of the annual Snowshoe Softball Tournament for the National Kidney Foundation of Northeast New York.
Over the years, Elizabeth “Liz” Cannan, B.A.D. (Be A Donor) Chairperson, has worked diligently to raise awareness and funds for the National Kidney Foundation within the town of Indian Lake.
If you know Liz, chances are you know she’s been fighting a genetic form of kidney disease for most of her life called PKD or polycystic kidney disease. And, for most of her life, she has been doing it with a smile.
A good example of this attitude and approach in the battle for those with the disease is when she stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and initiated the Annual “Be A Donor” Snowshoe Softball Tournament in the town of Indian Lake. That was four years ago. This Saturday, Feb. 23, the Fourth Annual Tournament will take place at the Benton Little League Ball Field.
It hasn’t been an easy year for Liz, with one kidney removed two months ago and the other scheduled to be removed at the end of February.
“After the softball tournament,” she said.
That is what she explained to me when we met at a local restaurant to discuss the fundraiser. It was clear that this fundraiser means so much to her and others with the disease, that the removal of the second kidney was scheduled around the tournament.
There she was, wearing a B.A.D. sweatshirt and a casual, easy smile while she explained that she has had to stop working because of her disease and undergo dialysis in Glens Falls twice a week. This will soon become three times a week once the other kidney is removed.
Dialysis takes about three and a half hours per session, in addition to the round-trip to Glens Falls. But it’s clear that Liz is certainly not all about Liz.
She was telling me this so I could have a sense of the hardship and cost incurred by people with kidney disease. What’s more, donations of a kidney cannot, of course, be solicited, and donations are preferred from living donors. This helps avoid the transplant rejection often caused by trauma to kidneys received from accident victims and the like. With a living donor, everything can be cleared and controlled. But the donor must contact a transplant center; the center cannot contact a donor.
Having met Liz personally, there is no doubt in my mind that she’s a selfless woman who is about helping the foundation and helping others deal with the rigors and costs of this disease. She wants to help them face and fight the disease with dignity and grace.
This is just as evident in observations from those who’ve known Liz a long time.
“She has always impressed me with her kindness and courage, but the way she manages this current ordeal with a smile and a laugh just amazes me,” said friend Jane Hinckley. “Whether it’s for the Girl Scouts or for AAU basketball, she is all about supporting our community.”
Jane said this year’s Snowshoe Softball Tournament really “hits home.”
On Saturday, the tournament starts at 11 a.m. The registration fee is $10 per player or $100 per team (maximum of 10 players per team). The registration fee includes a barbecue lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs and chili. For non-participant attendees, lunch is a minimum donation of $1.
Participants can either join an existing team or organize their own team. There are several registration options available: team information can be emailed to email@example.com; on the event Facebook page at “B.A.D. beadonor”; contact Elizabeth Cannan by telephone at 648-5863; or register on the day of the event between 10 and 11 a.m. Snowshoes can be made available.
All are invited to stop by the Indian Lake Tavern Restaurant at 5 p.m., for the Tournament Trophy Award Ceremony and tricky tray auction of themed baskets’ gift certificates and merchandise donated by businesses, organizations and individuals throughout the community. To round out the fundraiser, DJ Krankin Ken will be playing at the restaurant beginning at 9 p.m.
As if to prove that facing hardship with grace has it rewards, last summer Liz was wearing a B.A.D. shirt while visiting a relative on Long Island. During the visit, Pete Cardino was inquisitive about what the shirt was all about. During this visit, Liz received a cell phone call informing her that her kidneys were failing. When Pete heard the news, he decided that if he was a match and passed all the physical exams, he would donate a kidney to Liz. He contacted the treatment center and set the wheels in motion.
When contacted by phone, Pete explained why he was willing to help.
“When I met Liz, I could tell by her way and her smile that she was a really good person,” he said. “She loves the outdoors and likes to travel, and she can’t do this strapped to a machine. She deserves a better life. She deserves to be free, and I know that she will take care of the kidney.”
If all goes well and on schedule, Liz will have her transplant sometime this April. It will be a life-changing gift, but there are some things that won’t change. She will certainly keep on smiling.
“It is not going to change my commitment to the foundation, to helping others with kidney disease and I am going to continue the annual event,” Liz said.
Liz wishes to remind all of us that tax-deductible donations are always encouraged. She suggests making a check payable to the National Kidney Foundation Northeast New York (NKFNENY). Send checks to: 99 Troy Road, East Greenbush, NY 12061.
Support of the Kidney Foundation provides vital funding for patient and family services, local research programs, and healthcare advocacy. And don’t forget to come out and watch or play on Saturday.