On September 13-14, 2011, patient advocates from across the U.S. participated in the National Kidney Foundation’s annual fly-in to Capitol Hill. Advocates from six states: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Wisconsin, as well as staff members from NKF’s National Office, National Capital Area Division, Ohio Division and Carolina Division, visited 27 congressional offices to discuss newly introduced legislation supporting immunosuppressant drug coverage (S. 1454 and H.R. 2969) and today’s challenges facing chronic kidney disease patients.
Advocates shared compelling personal stories with congressional health staff about their struggles managing the effects of chronic kidney disease as well as to afford the costs associated with transplantation. All of the patient advocates either are or were on home dialysis therapy and discussed how this treatment option was a better fit for their lifestyles, including allowing them to continue working full-time and travel. The patient advocates were also among over 100 attendees at a Congressional Kidney Caucus briefing, “Dialysis 101,” at which one of our Florida advocates, Doug Curtis, spoke passionately about the challenges he faced overcoming chronic kidney disease. Doug, who received a kidney transplant earlier this year, also talked of how Peritoneal Dialysis enabled him to continue full time in his job that requires frequent travel.