The Hope Affair, the American Kidney Fund’s annual national gala, is a celebration of the people who inspire us in the fight against kidney disease. The event brings together the renal community, policymakers, patients and advocates for an inspirational evening that raises funds to support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund.
Angela Davis of Springfield Gardens, New York, learned her kidneys failed when she went to an emergency room after a rapid onset of illness. When she transferred to a dialysis clinic, she quickly began to engage patients and staff. “I can’t be someplace without being involved,” says Ms. Davis. “I’m very spiritually connected to the world, to God and to people.”
She became a patient representative at her dialysis clinic and started a patient support group, holding monthly meetings with center staff. Angela was struck by how isolated many patients were. Many were lonely and depressed, having lost touch with friends because of the limitations imposed by their illness.
She decided to start a nonprofit—For Kidney’s Sake!—to provide social and educational opportunities for her fellow patients. During Kidney Month this year, she organized a spa day that brought in 85 patients, including a woman who had not been out of her house for two years except for dialysis and medical appointments. Angela hopes to schedule at least three events a month, including outings to museums, bowling trips and educational meetings.
“My passion has always been people and giving back,” says Angela. “It gives me energy and makes me feel better about what’s going on, just knowing that I can see the light, the hope, in someone’s eye. Little things can change people’s lives. That’s what it’s all about.”
Patrick D. Hawkins, DNP, MSN, ANP, NP-C
2015 American Kidney Fund Caregiver of the Year
According to Dr. Patrick Hawkins of Flint, Michigan, the “NP” in his long list of credentials stands for “No Problems.” As a nurse practitioner who holds a doctorate in nursing, he helps with transportation problems, fighting to get lower copays, transplant workups, medication samples for low-income patients and more.
Dr. Hawkins has been working in nephrology for 23 years since his days in the U.S. Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. His philosophy about patient care is simple and powerful: “Everybody is somebody’s someone.” He believes in treating patients as if they were members of his own family, and trains his staff to do the same.
His focus is on helping patients maximize their quality of life – by educating them on the importance of managing their disease and empowering them to engage fully in their care. “When you empower patients through education, they have better outcomes and less depression,” Dr. Hawkins says. “I tell them you don’t have to stop dancing, you just dance to a different song.”
Dr. Hawkins has a grueling schedule, traveling to three hospitals and as many as 28 dialysis centers.
“He is beyond selfless and caring when it comes to the health of our patients, working from before the sun comes up to after the sun goes down making sure everyone is taken care of,” wrote one of five people who nominated Dr. Hawkins for this award. “He has a level of caring for patients like I have never seen,” wrote another.
Calendar Kids Program - 20th Anniversary
For the past 20 years, the American Kidney Fund has conducted a nationwide art contest for young artists who have kidney disease. Thirteen drawings are selected for inclusion in the annual calendar, and the cover art is selected through online voting in March, which is National Kidney Month.
The program provides an opportunity for pediatric kidney patients to express themselves through artwork and to receive national recognition while increasing awareness of kidney disease throughout the United States.
This year's cover art winner is Kaylee Clabough, 8, from Hartselle, Alabama. Kaylee's summer 2014 was spent battling hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that caused her to suffer acute kidney injury. Kaylee was on dialysis and underwent seven months of intravenous drug therapy. While she was in the hospital, she decided to enter the American Kidney Fund’s Calendar Kids art contest, and her drawing received the most votes in an online contest to select the cover artwork for the 2016 AKF calendar.
American Kidney Fund's continued fight against kidney disease
LaVarne A. Burton, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund and Artemeshia Adams, our 2014 Hero of Hope honoree are interviewed by Shawn Yancy on Fox 5 News in Washington, D.C.
Circle of Friends
Gordon and Rees
Otsuka Pharmaceuticals US
John and Becky Weidenbruch
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