Today, our nearly 100 advocates congregated on Capitol Hill. During the course of the day, they met with approximately 150 legislators’ offices. As citizen lobbyists, they strived to persuade their Senators and Representatives about the importance of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and ensure their commitment to support three important priorities for kidney patients and living donors: Early Detection and Treatment (H.R. 3867), the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270), and appropriating federal funding to kidney disease research and other programs.
“I want to spread the message of kidney disease and help get support from the Members of Congress,” said Kidney Advocacy Committee member Matt Scroggy of Ohio who received a kidney from his sister. “I want living donors to have full protection, full rights, and not be discriminated against by health and life insurance companies.”
Mary Baliker of Wisconsin has been through four kidney transplants since age nine. She’s thankful to the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin, and its Chief Executive Officer Cindy Huber, for inviting her to the Kidney Patient Summit for the first time this year. “The Living Donor Protection Act is near and dear to my heart,” said Mary. “My brother was fired from his job after he donated his kidney to me, and that’s why I advocate with my lawmakers to support H.R. 1270. No one should be discriminated against because they saved a life.”
In the afternoon, we were also honored to have NKF’s Kid Ambassador and transplant recipient, Angelica Hale, host a Facebook live interview with Congresswoman Herrera-Buetler and Congressman Posey about what they are doing on Capitol Hill to help those affected by kidney disease.
Today, we also celebrate the newest Kidney Advocacy Committee member to have earned the NKF’s Richard K. Salick Advocacy Award – the highest honor NKF bestows on advocacy volunteers. Haley Newkirk went on dialysis at age 14 following sudden acute renal failure. Without an eligible living donor, Haley was fortunate to receive a kidney from the wait list after only six months on dialysis. While the cause of her kidney failure remains unknown, her experiences on dialysis and post-transplant inspired her passion for promoting early detection, encouraging organ donation and preservation, and supporting extensive living donor protections to help reduce long transplant wait times. Haley has been involved with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) since 2015; she is also a trained patient educator through NKF’s Your Kidneys and You program and a patient mentor through the NKF Peers program.
This evening, NKF is hosting the 2018 World Kidney Day Congressional Reception. This reception, held in conjunction with the 5th Annual Kidney Patient Summit, is a kick off to World Kidney Day on Thursday, March 8. In attendance will be Event Chair, Governor Tommy Thompson, Members of Congress, patient advocates, supporters of kidney patients, industry professionals, and Congressional staff. There will also be a special performance by Angelica Hale. We will be honoring four strong supporters of early detection and CKD treatment efforts: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA).
Learn more about the Summit, view legislative materials, see photos from last year, or write your legislators.