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TeamKidney: Why Lisa Runs

Updated: Sep 21

Lisa Lapin is running with TeamKidney in the 2023 Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, September 24! She shares below what motivates her and how she trained for this year's race. Support Lisa and the rest of TeamKidney here.



My mom has had kidney disease for the past several years. Watching her go from an energetic and busy friend, mom, grandma, wife, etc., to someone tired from just walking from one room to another was heart-wrenching. The quality of her life had gone downhill as her GFR went down. But on the flip side, being able to give her my kidney has only made my mom and I grow closer and more bonded, which has been an extraordinary gift.


In 2022, I donated one of my kidneys to my mom. It was a gratifying experience for me, and I felt drawn to continue giving in whatever way I could. After thinking about how to do that, I decided to incorporate giving back into my favorite hobby: running. I planned to run a half marathon in every state, raising funds and awareness for kidney donation along the way. Earlier this year, I ran a race in California and Nevada, but not affiliated with an organization. I wore a shirt in both races that said “This girl runs on one kidney” on the back and “Living Kidney Donor” on the front, and I got a lot of great comments along the route.


But I wanted to run with and for an organization like NKFI where I could raise funds and be a part of a team of amazing people doing the same. Joining Team Kidney has been incredible, and the support I have received from them and my family and friends has been remarkable. I surpassed my fundraising goal with one Facebook post and will continue to raise funds for NKFI until race day.



I’ve been running for about 12 years off and on. I have run about 25 half marathons. This will be my third this year in my third state, and I am super excited to have such a beautiful course in Chicago to run on.



Training consists of running 3- 4 miles Tuesday and Thursday before work, as well as longer runs Saturday and Sunday, gradually increasing mileage each weekend. There hasn’t been much time to cross-train with all the summer activities, but I usually walk or do a cycle class at home on the off days. I just bought new Hoka Mach Xs, so it has been extra fun to train because they feel great!



Kidney health is extremely important to me now, more than ever because my mom and I each only have one. Keeping my kidney functioning normal or as normal as possible has become a daily choice. Eating healthy, not drinking too much (but still having fun!!), exercising. You can’t mess with your health, so doing everything you can to protect it is key.


Watching others try their best at whatever they are doing is incredibly motivating to me. Whether it be my daughter dancing, my son doing cross country, or my mom helping others, seeing them in their element motivates me to do better and be the best version of myself.



Going through the process of donating a kidney was life-changing and incredibly inspiring. I felt so blessed to be able to give my mom something that would have a positive impact on her health and day-to-day life. She has always been the most giving and loving person I know. She inspires me daily to live my life to the fullest, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do that!


Support Lisa and the rest of Team Kidney running the Half Marathon here.
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