A gift of hope inspires giving back

William Southall  |  Posted
William Southall

Sometimes a simple gesture can create a chain reaction.

Sometimes tremendous tragedy can inspire great hope.

Five years ago I learned that my kidneys had failed and I would need to start dialysis to survive. Soon after, I found myself dealing with the sudden death of my mother. Dealing with these two sudden, devastating events at the same time was very challenging and I wasn’t sure how to make things work. To make things even harder, I found myself having to be the primary guardian for my brother who was dealing with mental health issues.

Those were some very difficult times for me.

I ended up losing my job because the dialysis treatments were so time consuming and exhausting. In addition, I decided to postpone my aspirations of finishing cosmetology school. My kidney failure brought my life to a halt.

Around Christmastime in 2014, I had been feeling the devastation of kidney failure for a few years. I was struggling to pay for medications and necessary bills, let alone presents for my family for the holiday. It was during this time that I reached out to the American Kidney Fund for support and received, very quickly, a $100 grant.

$100 dollars may not sound like a lot to you, but to me it was a sign of hope. I will never forget that moment. I began to cry, and for the first time in a long time I felt like someone was helping to share my burden of kidney disease.

Going through dialysis, I see many people in a similar situation as mine. They cannot work. Their lives have changed drastically. They struggle to pay for groceries because they have no money left over after medications and doctor bills. They feel the full burden of kidney disease and it is often overwhelming.

I know things can be better and I am dedicated to inspiring others to make the most of their personal situation.

That $100 grant I received from AKF inspired me to give back. I joined AKF’s KIDNEYNATION and began planning a KIDNEYNATION walk in my community. In two years have raised roughly $1,500 dollars for AKF programs and services that help patients like me. I want others to see what you can still accomplish with this disease. I want others to see that there is life beyond dialysis.

So you see...

Sometimes a simple gesture can create a chain reaction.

Sometimes tremendous tragedy can inspire great hope.

William Southall of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been a dialysis patient since 2011. Receiving a Safety Net Grant from AKF Safety Net Grant in 2014 inspired him to host a KIDNEYNATION 5k fundraiser for the past two years to help other patients.

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