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Ken's Story


Ken Merkley’s Kidney Foundation Biography


Past-President of the BC and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Ken Merkley has been a kidney patient for the past 41 years. He was first diagnosed with kidney disease in 1980, while serving as a navigator with the Canadian Armed Forces. He was on dialysis treatments for two years but was fortunate to receive a successful cadaveric transplant on December 22, 1981, a very special Christmas present, indeed! When his transplanted kidney failed in February 2000, he was truly fortunate again, when he received a kidney from his daughter, Christina. He has remained in excellent health since then.


Ken joined the Kidney Foundation of Canada in 1981 and over the years volunteered much of his time to this very worthwhile non-profit organization. Donor awareness and transplantation issues are Ken’s main concerns. For many years Ken sought out opportunities to raise public awareness by frequently speaking to the media about his own experiences with kidney disease and transplantation issues.


Major accomplishments with KFOC include:


  • Developing a Promoters of Organ Donation (POD) speaker’s bureau, including a speaker’s manual and training program and recruiting speakers across the province,

  • Undertaking a personal one-week marathon bicycle and organ donation awareness speaking tour, aimed at grade 11 students on Vancouver Island,

  • Implementing and promoting a play focusing on encouraging seniors to register their organs with the BC Transplant Society,

  • Initiating a program encouraging all members of the B.C. Federation of Labour to register their organs,

  • Engaging in over 100 speaking engagements to service clubs, schools, sports organizations, Legion chapters, churches and other clubs and organizations to encourage members to register their organs,

  • Organizing a five-kilometre donor awareness “Walk for Life” that has become an annual event in Victoria,

  • Co-initiating and implementing the 3-year pilot for the Living Organ Donor Expense Reimbursement program, and

  • Writing a book to encourage kidney patients to consider transplantation and to advocate with others to increase kidney transplants in Canada.


Ken is now retired but was previously employed as a senior military officer, government analyst, management trainer and company president. When not engaged in his various kidney-related volunteer activities, he spends his time writing novels, golfing, travelling and hiking with his wife, Bernadette, and their dog Riley.

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Ken is a transplant recipient and advoca
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