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.
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Meet Our 2014 Honorees
Atemeshia Adams, 2014 American Kidney Fund Hero of Hope
This year’s Hero of Hope is Artemeshia “Meshia” Adams of Woodbridge, Virginia. Meshia has had two kidney transplants including one donated by her husband Rodney. His selfless gift convinced Meshia that she needed to give something back by helping others. She started a website, Meshia’s Hope, to provide practical information about what to expect and to educate the public about kidney disease. She formed a volunteer group to make quilts to keep dialysis patients warm during treatment, and brings neck pillows to make them more comfortable. She counsels new patients to help them successfully navigate their introduction to dialysis. And she advocates—on Capitol Hill and as a blogger—for public policy that supports kidney patients and transplant donors. “A lot of people are hurting out there and they need someone to be supportive and empathetic to their needs,” she says. Meshia received eight nominations for the Hero of Hope award. Said one: “She has brought so much light and hope for those going through this struggle and has been such an inspiration.”
Keith McDonald, 2014 American Kidney Fund Caregiver of the Year
This year’s Caregiver of the Year is Keith McDonald of Sayreville, N.J. When his wife Ramieka began dialysis and could no longer work, Keith took on a second job, and also took on many of the household duties, including caring for their two children. Keith maintains a grueling seven-day-a-week work schedule that allows only brief periods of sleep. Keith never thought of himself as a caregiver; he saw it as his duty as a husband and father to care for his family and provide for them, providing as much normalcy as possible for his two young children. In nominating Keith, Ramieka said, “Now I believe there is such a thing as a knight in shining armor. He is just an amazing man.”
Madison Gordon, 2015 AKF Calendar Cover Artist
From the time she was a little girl, Madison Gordon of Sultan, Washington, refused to let illness keep her down. Eventually, kidney failure and the need to travel nearly two hours each way to dialysis three times a week changed everything for Madison and her family. Drawing became a way to pass the time at dialysis. The inspiration for Madison’s winning artwork came during a particularly difficult day at dialysis. After several attempts, her needles were finally in place and the tubes formed the shape of a heart. “I just knew that it was going to be OK,” Madison said. Madison’s drawing, “Love Life,” received the most votes in the American Kidney Fund’s online contest to select the 2015 calendar cover artwork.