About Us

About the PKD Foundation of Canada

Established in 1993, the PKD Foundation of Canada has now positioned itself as a nation leader of clinical research and fellowship funding in the field of PKD. From the first research grant awarded in 1999, the PKD Foundation of Canada has set up chapters and support groups across the country, built an expansive and passionate volunteer network, and connected with PKD groups around the world to support our most notable fundraising event – the Walk to END PKD.

Today, the PKD Foundation of Canada is the only national organization solely dedicated to fighting PKD through research, education, advocacy, support and awareness.


To promote programs of research, advocacy, education, support and awareness in order to discover treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease and improve the lives of all it affects.


No one suffers the full effects of polycystic kidney disease.


“The PKD Foundation of Canada is always helping me and my family. I am not a doctor but I know, when the time comes, I can reach out to them for support, for education, for assistance.” – Jarrett Osborne, father of PKD hero, Harrison

Board Of Directors

Our board of directors are proud volunteers of the PKD Foundation of Canada, and are passionate advocates for support, research and education to help all those affected by polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Stephanie Vardzel, co-chair

Stephanie is a passionate supporter of the PKD Foundation of Canada. She has dedicated herself to the foundation in memory of her daughter Abigail, who passed away due to ARPKD in infancy. She is honoured to bring her organizational and life skills, Master’s education and drive to the organization. Stephanie and her husband are dedicated to finding a cure, so no other parent has to endure the heartache that they experienced.

Dianne Hillier, co-chair

PKD runs in Dianne’s family with both maternal grandparents and her mother having this disease. Over 15 years ago Dianne’s father donated his kidney to her mother. Dianne and her family are excited to continue their support of the PKD Foundation of Canada, and remain dedicated to advocating for future treatment options that will improve the lives of those afflicted with PKD.


Trinda Blackmore

Trinda Blackmore has seen the effects of PKD through her grandmother, father, sister, uncle and cousin.  She has also seen the benefits of organ transplantation and PKD research over the last three decades and is honored to be involved to continue to raise awareness and funds to help end PKD.  Trinda is a Chartered Professional Accountant and over the last 25 years has gained significant experience in audit, advisory, hedge fund administration and corporate governance.

Sara Hillier

I’m Sara Hillier and have been involved in the PKD community with the PKDFOC for as long as I can remember. My grandmother had PKD and my mom also has the disease. It has affected all of my family’s lives. My grandmother fought PKD with all of her might, and now my mother is doing the very same!

It is my turn to do my part in the fight to end PKD. I am excited to be a part of the Board of Directors, and look forward to advocating and fundraising for advancements in treatment options. It is my hope to one day see a cure for polycystic kidney disease.


The PKD Foundation of Canada’s staff strives to uphold the mission and values of the Foundation in day-to-day activities, from growing chapters across the country to coordinating our annual Walk to END PKD.

Kathleen Barnard, Executive Director

Kathleen has spent the majority of her career working in the not-for-profit sector, either as a consultant or a member of staff. With a focus on building awareness and raising funds for important causes, her work has enabled the development and delivery of numerous meaningful programs and services. Kathleen is equally at home with developing strategic plans to achieve a mission and the hands-on, detail-orientation needed for operational excellence, but truly thrives in building the relationships that are so crucial to a charitable organization's success.

Kathleen is thrilled to work together with the PKD Foundation of Canada's dedicated and passionate board, staff and volunteers to improve the lives of those affected by PKD.

Michelle Lynne Goodfellow, Communications / Engagement Manager

Michelle Lynne has over 9 years of non-profit experience in the healthcare, arts, and affordable housing sectors. She understands the impact of PKD, having had an aunt with another form of kidney disease, which led to kidney failure and long-term dialysis. Michelle Lynne is a writer and illustrator who helps businesses and nonprofits tell their story well, connect with communities of passionate people who love what they do, and increase their revenue or their reach. She is thrilled to contribute to the work of the PKD Foundation of Canada.

Sandy Kenney, Development / Fundraising Manager

Sandy is a seasoned fundraising professional with over 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector. With a degree in psychology and a certificate in volunteer management, Sandy brings a unique perspective to the field of fundraising. Her dedication to the non-profit sector extends beyond her professional work. She is an active volunteer and has served on the boards of several organizations. Sandy is grateful to be able to contribute to the positive impact that the PKD Foundation of Canada is making.

Scientific Advisory Committee

We are privileged to have the support of the American PKD Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which is comprised of 12 of the foremost physicians and scientists in North America. The SAC oversees the American PKD Foundation’s medical and scientific programs with the goal of discovering and delivering treatments for polycystic kidney disease (PKD), which align with the PKD Foundation of Canada’s goals. The SAC’s role involves meeting several times throughout the year to discuss relevant medical issues, offering guidance to the American PKD Foundation staff, and reviewing and approving research applications for grants and fellowships in the field of PKD science.

Financial Information