SHAWNEE, Kan. — One man is traveling cross-country on a bicycle to help find a cure for kidney disease. On Wednesday he stopped in Shawnee, Kansas, where he was recognized for his efforts.
Glenn Frommer believes action drives hope. He’s biking 5,300 miles across the country to raise awareness and research money for polycystic kidney disease, or PKD.
“It’s untreatable, incurable, progressively worsening genetically inherited disease,” Frommer said. “It’s just going to get worse.”
Frommer’s case has unfortunately gotten worse. He was diagnosed with PKD in 2014. It was a gut punch for him and his family.
“Your healthy kidneys are about the size of a fist. My kidneys are three and a half times the size of that, just filled with cysts,” Frommer said.
The disease isn’t slowing down, but neither is he. The 60-year-old wants to accelerate the pace of research.
“Now we at least have medicine that slows the disease, but it’s not enough. We need better medicines for the patient population,” Frommer said.
Dr. Stephan Parnell, a researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said the money Frommer raises will directly impact the health system’s Kidney Institute.
So far, they’ve topped their $500,000 goal. Now they’re going for $640,000 before they reach the final destination — Cape Cod by Sept. 1.
“It makes all the difference in the world,” Parnell said.
Unfortunately, Frommer said the PKD Foundation only has enough money to fund six or seven grants a year, which is only about 10% of the requests that come in. Donations from his tour could add four more grants.
Through the cold passes in Colorado to 100-degree temperatures in Kansas, Frommer stays motivated by the patients and people he meets along the way.
“When the alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning, I don’t dread it. I get up and get ready on the bike,” he said. “It’s life affirming.”
Frommer and his wife are in Kansas until Friday. Look for their RV, lovingly known as the “Blue Whale.”
You can also help them reach their goal by donating here.
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