24 Patient-Advocates Join American Kidney Fund for 9th Annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day


Advocates to call on Congress to protect living organ donors and people who need charitable assistance to pay health insurance premiums

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (March 8, 2018) –  Today, 24 kidney patients, caregivers and loved ones from 14 states will join the American Kidney Fund (AKF) on Capitol Hill to urge their elected representatives to protect living organ donors and ensure that low-income kidney patients continue to have access to health insurance, even if they need charitable assistance to afford it. 

“Kidney Month and World Kidney Day help us put a spotlight on kidney disease and the devastating impact it can have on patients physically, emotionally and financially,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. “Each year when we bring advocates to meet with their legislators on Capitol Hill, they make a powerful case to elected officials about the urgent need for Congress to take steps to help people living with kidney disease.”

The advocates, all members of AKF’s 8,700-member Advocacy Network, will begin their day at AKF’s Congressional breakfast briefing focused on women and kidney disease. March 8 is World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day, and the briefing will focus on ways that kidney disease affects women differently than it does men: 

  • Rep. Suzan DelBene, co-chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus and a member of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, will provide opening remarks.
  • Dr. Jessica Tangren, an American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology, will discuss the special challenges women with kidney disease face during pregnancy. 
  • Several patient-advocates will share their experiences in high-risk pregnancies or their roles as caregivers for family members with kidney disease. 
  • The event will be streamed on Facebook Live on AKF’s Facebook page.

Following the breakfast briefing, the advocates will meet with their elected officials and staff to talk about the challenges of living with kidney disease. They will urge their representatives to support the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270) to make it easier for people to donate a kidney by prohibiting insurance discrimination and adding living donation to the Family Medical Leave Act. They will also ask their representatives to cosponsor H.R. 3976, the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, which would require health insurers to accept charitable premium assistance payments from nonprofits for health insurance premiums, preventing insurers from discriminating against patients with chronic diseases who need help paying for their insurance. AKF’s premium assistance program helps dialysis patients and post-transplant patients who cannot afford their insurance premiums on their own. 

AKF’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill features a diverse group of participants including dialysis patients, transplant recipients and living donors, caregivers and family members: 

  • Melissia Baker*, her mother Ann and son Isaiah, all from Philadelphia
  • Andrew Bossov, Wilmette, Illinois
  • Juan Calle, Brookhaven, Georgia
  • Nathan Charging, Roseglen, North Dakota
  • Tracey* and Edward Danka, their son Jarrod and daughter Devon, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania
  • Amanda De Leon and her mother Corine Ollerbidez, San Antonio, Texas
  • Patrick Gee, North Chesterfield, Virginia
  • Shayla Harris, Burtonsville, Maryland
  • Angeles Herrera, San Francisco, California
  • Wayne James and Marie St. Pierre, Lake Dallas, Texas
  • Angela Lattimore* and her son Edward, Seneca, South Carolina
  • Ralph Mickle, Salem, Oregon
  • James Myers, Hammond, Indiana
  • Sebastian Navarro, Dallas
  • Heather Tapley, Corinth, Maine
  • Steve and Heather* Winfree, Knoxville, Tennessee  
  • Rebekah Woolf, Canton, North Carolina

*Speaking at briefing

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

For more information, please visit KidneyFund.org, or connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.