Like most area fundraising events in 2020, this year’s St. Louis Walk for PKD was held virtually rather than in person. But that didn’t stop members of the Glaser family from working as hard as they have for the past 20 years to support the nonprofit organization’s largest annual fundraiser, which helps in the fight against life-threatening polycystic kidney disease.
The October walk was special because it also honored the family’s matriarch, Roz Glaser of Chesterfield, who passed away in January. Roz had been active with the local PKD chapter since 2000, after being diagnosed with the incurable genetic disease. She could be counted on every year, along with her husband Len, to donate fruit for the walkers, manage the food table and volunteer wherever help was needed at the event in addition to participating in it, according to St. Louis Walk Coordinator Jean Sommer.
“Roz and Len always walked the route … The only years she did not walk was when she received a kidney transplant five days before the walk (in 2014) and last year when she was recovering from an illness,” Sommer said.
Roz’s daughter Lisa Glaser, a Kirkwood resident, served as captain of the fundraising “Team Roz” for this year’s vir- tual event. She rallied friends and family to participate in her mother’s memory – and in support of her sister Amy Neuman of Chesterfield, who also has PKD and received a lifesaving kidney transplant in July. As of late-November, Team Roz had raised more than $5,200 of the walk’s total proceeds of $29,600. “She was such a beautiful, sweet, thoughtful, caring person,” Lisa said of Roz. “She had an infectious smile and a twinkle in her eye and immediately made friends with everyone … We miss her every day.”
The annual Walk for PKD is held nationwide, with 100% of the funds raised going toward research into treatments and a potential cure. The St. Louis PKD Chapter will continue to collect donations for the virtual walk through December 31; more information is available on the event website, walkforpkd.org/stlouis.