AKF Advocate: Stephanie Shabanowitz
Stephanie Shabanowitz from Oakdale, Conn., is passionate about educating others about pediatric kidney disease and discussing important policy issues with Congressional representatives.
Stephanie, a restaurant server who hopes to re-enter the teaching profession, has firsthand experience with the struggles of young kidney patients. At the age of 15, she was diagnosed with kidney failure and the onset of ovarian cancer. She graduated high school and began attending college, where she began peritoneal dialysis. Stephanie was determined not to let her illness get in the way of achieving her goals. She graduated from the University of Connecticut and then obtained her master’s degree in education at the University of New Haven. Stephanie strives to be a role model for pediatric kidney patients and to inspire young patients to pursue their dreams.
Now on home hemodialysis, Stephanie advocates passionately for government programs that affect dialysis patients, including Medicare and Medicaid—programs that affect her directly. Stephanie has a strong affinity for the American Kidney Fund, having received financial assistance from AKF’s Safety Net program.
Stephanie frequently meets with government officials to discuss ways to improve and sustain Medicare and Medicaid for years to come, just as she did when she attended AKF’s Kidney Action Day on the Hill in 2013. She met with her state’s Congressional representative to speak with him about kidney disease, and she used AKF’s online Action Center to email all 100 members of the U.S. Senate to ask them to co-sponsor legislation providing transplant recipients with lifetime coverage for immunosuppressive drugs.
Stephanie leaves AKF advocacy brochures at dialysis clinics in Connecticut and engages with AKF through social media. We are grateful to Stephanie for her many advocacy efforts on behalf of people with kidney disease.