Vernon’s Jacqueline Marioni (top), her husband, Chris, and dog Charlie will take part in a virtual Kidney Walk Sunday, June 7. Marioni has had two kidney transplants with both organs rejecting her despite being perfect matches on paper. Chris has donated one of his kidneys to a complete stranger. (Photo contributed)

Vernon couple support Kidney Walk despite setbacks

Jacqueline Marioni has had two kidney transplants; both organs have rejected or are rejecting her

She’s been an educator and a guinea pig.

Vernon’s Jacqueline Marioni has failing kidneys and she’s already had two transplants.

The first transplant, in 2013, from a stranger, rejected her. The second, which came from her sister, Kathy, in 2015, is rejecting her.

Marioni, 53, has been poked, prodded and examined trying to find out why the kidneys are rejecting her. She’s had chemotherapy. Her spleen has been removed.

Her kidney function is wavering between 10 and 12 per cent. She faces dialysis which, she said, a year of dialysis is akin to 10 years of life.

“It’s not a great prospect. I hope research catches up soon,” said Marioni, who will be joined by her husband, Chris – himself a kidney organ donor to a complete stranger as he was not a perfect match for his bride – her dog, Charlie, and several friends in taking part in the annual Kidney Walk this Sunday, June 7.

Both kidneys Marioni received from donors were perfect matches on paper.

“Why is it failing?” she asked. “My doctor team, well, this one in particular, his job is to do trials and go to conferences. Wherever he went he would present me to see if there’s anyone else like me out there.”

Marioni’s blood was sent to the Los Angeles Research Centre and it was discovered Marioni has anti-endothelial cell antibodies, a family of antibodies that reach with endothelial cell antigens.

“When I get a transplant, the cell automatically rejects it,” she said. “There’s nothing to switch off the cell.”

The problem is, there’s an awful lot of red tape and cost associated with sending even one sample out of Canada. The United States has more variety of research machines.

Marioni, a prime example why funding is needed for such research, receives intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a therapy treatment for a patient with antibody deficiencies, every two weeks, and it seems to have slowed down the transplant rejection.

The Marionis champion organ transplants and have become fixtures at the local Kidney Walk, missing only a few events over the years.

“We’re doing it to show kidney patients we’ve got their backs,” said Marioni, who, along with her husband and dog, will be decked out in a Kidney Walk shirt.

Albeit, this year’s walk is a bit different.

“We’re not having a person-to-person walk this year to keep everyone safe,” said Sid Adams of the North Okanagan chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s a virtual walk as the need for help for kidneys goes on. People can walk around their block, or wherever and however they feel safe.”

British Columbia and Yukon participants have joined forces with Kidney Walks across Western Canada this Sunday, June 7, in an act of solidarity.

“Branches in B.C., the Yukon, southern Alberta, northern Alberta, the Territories and Saskatchewan are coming together for a virtual version of our traditional Kidney Walk celebration,” said Pia Schindler, executive director, B.C. and Yukon branch. “Kidney patients need us now more than ever. There is no other way.”

The Kidney Walk campaign always brings together patients, their friends and families, health care workers, researchers, and the public to honour and celebrate everyone impacted by kidney disease and organ transplantation.

While this year’s Kidney Walk community won’t physically meet, the Kidney Walk celebration will go online using Facebook Live ( and YouTube (subscribe to

For more information on the Kidney Walk or to register, please go to

READ MORE: Vernon couple champions organ donation

READ MORE: Spallumcheen woman hopeful for kidney donation

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Healthcare and Medicine

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cancels 2 main Armstrong-Spallumcheen events

Community Excellence Awards, Citizen of the Year, cancelled for 2020; both to return in 2021

Spallumcheen looks to photo contest for wesbite revamp

Residents would submit entries covering the four seasons for use on township website, documents

Vernon golf course to host national event local qualifier

The Rise hosts the RBC PGA Scramble qualifier Sunday, July 26

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Boardwalk closures ahead for Vernon cyclists, pedestrians

Next phase of storm rehab project will see closures of up to 20 minutes

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Most Read