Last week, we highlighted a practitioner from Oklahoma who took the extra step to improve the lives of his patients through changing public policy impacting living organ donors in his state. This week, we are highlighting a patient advocate who is trying to “pay it forward” by championing policy change at both the state and federal level by helping to educate her policymakers on how kidney disease impacts millions of Americans. Will you join her?
-Andrew Fullerton, National Kidney Foundation
My name is Curtisha Anderson from Kansas City and I was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at the age of 14. My kidney disease was caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. In 2017, I received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor.
On March 14th, World Kidney Day, I attended an event called “Kidney Day at the Capitol,” hosted by the National Kidney Foundation. There, I joined with other NKF volunteers to raise awareness among our state legislators of chronic kidney disease, share our personal stories and dispel myths about organ donation.
It was also an opportunity for us to seek support from our legislators to help others affected by kidney disease by working to improve our kidney disease policies in the state. I met kidney patients, donors, and other advocates from all walks of life who, like me, are motivated to make a difference for every person touched by kidney disease.
Advocacy is very important to me. My life has been totally changed by kidney disease, but the gift of organ donation has given me renewed hope and good health. I feel a responsibility to pay it forward by being a champion for others with kidney disease and ensuring that our laws help – rather than hinder – facilitate organ donation and protect donors and recipients alike.
My presence at the state capital puts a face to the 30 million Americans affected by kidney disease and the many others who may be at risk. I know that I made a difference – I saw it on lawmakers’ faces and in the progress that has been made since.
In fact, since I attended that event a few short months ago, Kansas became one of ten states in the country to pass bold legislation protecting living organ donors from insurance discrimination because of their selfless gift of life.
How are you using your voice for patients across the country impacted by kidney disease? We cannot wait for others to speak up. We must use our voices now.
Will you consider joining me to advocate for change? Email NKFadvocacy@kidney.org to learn how you can get involved.
NKF Volunteer- Kansas