Board of Directors

Marie-Eve Chainey, President

Marie-Eve Chainey

Marie-Eve Chainey has been on dialysis since 2002 when she was diagnosed with aHUS (atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome) at the age of 18. She graduated with honors in nursing at the University of Ottawa in June 2013 and volunteers training and helping others stay fit and healthy. She is also a volunteer with The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s peer support program and a speaker for Healthpartners Speakers’ Bureau. She is a member of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, training and competing in high jump.  She is able to do all of this because she is participating in a unique home nocturnal hemodialysis program offered at the Ottawa Hospital.  Marie-Eve believes that “Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project” will be a great tool to help support and teach other chronic kidney patients to pursue and achieve their fitness goals, as well as help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Deborah Zimmerman, Medical Advisor & Sponsorship Coordinator

Deb Zimmerman

Deborah Zimmerman has been a kidney doctor at the Ottawa Hospital since 1999. She has been a medical advisor for the Kidney Foundation of Canada and is currently a member of the Canadian Society of Nephrology council. She is interested in improving the quality of life for people with end stage kidney disease with a focus on home dialysis treatment options. For patients with chronic kidney disease, Dr. Zimmerman recommends physical fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity has been shown to improve blood pressure, sugar control (for people with diabetes mellitus) and help to maintain a healthy weight. Ultimately patients will feel better and may even be able to reduce the number of medications that they have to take.  To maintain her own fitness, she rides 3 horses competitively, works with a personal trainer and runs when there is time left in the day.

Danielle Zimmerman, Social Media Coordinator

Danielle Zimmerman

Danielle Zimmerman is currently pursuing medical education at  the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She has almost completed her Master’s of Science at the Kidney Research Centre in Ottawa. Her research focused on understanding the development and progression of chronic kidney disease using animal and cellular based models. When Danielle is not at the lab, she spends time at the gym running, weight training, and taking in the occasional yoga class. Upon completion of medical school Danielle is considering pursuing a career in family medicine. With her training in kidney disease and her experience with the Alive to Strive Foundation Danielle hopes to help future patients develop fitness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Mary Keys, Board Member and Grant Committee Member


Mary joined the Alive to Strive Board and Race Committee in 2011 and has been a wonderful addition to our team. Mary was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and before living with kidney disease impacted her work life, Mary was a hospital executive at the Salvation Army Grace Hospital. Mary eventually began home peritoneal dialysis every night for 9 hours. During this time, she participated in aerobic fitness classes and enjoyed downhill skiing and hiking. In 2009, Mary was the 29th patient in Canada to receive  a rare positive-crossmatch transplant. Mary was able to accept a kidney a hero, her husband. Since then Mary has increased her fitness classes to 4-5 per week as well as attending a dance class. Mary understands the challenges of keeping active and eating within the nutritional parameters of kidneys and she is excited to be involved with Alive to Strive to support others living with kidneys to live an healthy and active lifestyle.

Marc-André Chainey, Board Member and Race Co-Director


Marc-André Chainey joined the Alive to Strive Race Committee in 2010 and the Board in 2012.  He is a civil engineer in the transportation consulting industry with a particular focus on bridges.  A first eye-witness to the beneficial effects of physical activities and a healthy lifestyle, he understands how crucial a support system can be for those living with kidney disease.  Through the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project, he hopes to offer the resources and support system required for chronic kidney disease patients to accomplish their goals and a healthy, active lifestyle.  To meet his personal fitness goals, he follows daily exercise routines developed to accommodate the high pace of life and routinely enjoys out-door activities.

Check out what the Alive to Strive Board of Directors does to stay active!


Marie-Eve participating in Track and Field Championships

Deb Zimmerman - 4 foot jump

Deb taking one of her horses over a 4 foot jump!

Danielle Zimmerman - 2011 Alive to Strive Race

Danielle just about to finish the Alive to Strive 5K in 2011

Mary and Dave

Mary and her husband and donor, Dave, were thrilled to be able to return to the Rockies Lake Louise hiking trail six months after their transplant.


Marc-André, reaching for the top!

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