Catherine Martin hoseted a trunk show as a DIY for PKD event. "We are desperate to find a cure for this terrible disease and will do just about whatever we can to take steps to get us closer to that goal," Catherine said. "Raising money just seemed like the only way I knew to help right now."
Catherine Martin has felt the sting that is polycystic kidney disease (PKD) for about as long as she can remember. PKD has plagued her family for generations. Looking back, she recalls her grandfather's light-hearted approach to his struggle with PKD.
"He used to tell us grandchildren that he swallowed a watermelon seed and a watermelon grew inside him; that was why his tummy looked like it did," Catherine said. "As a child, I wasn't aware of all the medical issues that came with PKD. Fast forward many years later and my dad started 'growing a watermelon' in his stomach. Only then, I was old enough to know it wasn't really a watermelon."
Catherine realized that having PKD is "much more than the inconvenience of having an awkwardly big tummy." She watched as her father, Kai Kaiser, battled the disease by undergoing yearly cyst aspiration, daily dialysis and a double nephrectomy.
"He couldn't breathe because his lungs were being compromised, he couldn't eat because his stomach was being compromised, and he couldn't live the life he desired because of the constant pain and discomfort," Catherine said.
In Kai's doctor's words, "This disease has taken so much from this man." In March, PKD ultimately took Kai's life.
The loss of her father came just one week after Catherine gave birth to her third child. Less than a month later, she was expected to return to her job as a Trunk Keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing – a girls' clothing company that releases collections several times a year – but she was struggling to find motivation to work.
"Needless to say, I was having a hard time getting back into the swing of things for my big launch party/trunk show for Matilda Jane," Catherine said. "I decided there was one thing that would help me get through the initial "getting back to work" phase – to do it for Dad."
On April 1, Catherine hosted her spring trunk show as a fundraiser for PKD. As she opened her home to friends and customers, she announced that 10 percent of the day's sales would be donated to the PKD Foundation.
"We are desperate to find a cure for this terrible disease and will do just about whatever we can to take steps to get us closer to that goal," Catherine said. "Raising money just seemed like the only way I knew to help right now."
Catherine was blown away by the number of people who came to support her father's memory and her cause. "Hopefully, (raising money) means one step closer to a cure for PKD. I want to spare those with the disease the pain and suffering I have witnessed firsthand."
You, too, can take the fight for a cure to end PKD in your own hands.