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Media Contact: 
Tenee Hawkins 
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing 

American Kidney Fund’s Fifth Annual Gala, ‘The Hope Affair,’ Celebrates Inspiring Individuals on Oct. 29

Event Recognizes Patients and Caregivers Who Are Lighting the Way in the Fight Against Kidney Disease

WASHINGTON (October 9, 2013) — The American Kidney Fund will celebrate its fifth annual national gala, The Hope Affair, on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. This year’s event, themed “Lighting the Way,” will be emceed by Emmy Award-winning FOX 5 news anchor Shawn Yancy.

The American Kidney Fund will recognize four remarkable individuals at The Hope Affair:

  • NeShell Monroe of Houston, a dialysis patient for more than 30 years and a longtime community advocate for kidney disease awareness, will receive the Hero of Hope Award
  • Joseph A. Chazan, M.D., and Lucille M. Pono, RN, of Providence, RI, who have worked together for four decades to provide care to dialysis patients, will receive the Caregivers of the Year Award
  • Jonathan Rivera Gomez, 15, a dialysis patient from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, will be honored for his winning entry in AKF’s annual nationwide art contest for children with kidney disease

“The Hope Affair shines a light on patients and caregivers who are making a difference in the fight against kidney disease, and we are grateful to our many supporters who make this event possible,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund.  

The evening will include entertainment by Afro Blue, Howard University’s premiere vocal jazz ensemble, and Felena Bunn, a Chicago jazz vocalist who has performed for audiences around the world and who is currently on dialysis.

“We are pleased to join the entire kidney care community in support of The Hope Affair 2013,” said Joe Carlucci, Chairman/CEO and co-founder of American Renal Associates.  “The American Kidney Fund is truly ‘Lighting the Way’ in providing treatment-related assistance to patients and outreach to millions at risk for kidney disease. We congratulate AKF and the inspiring 2013 honorees.”

Funds raised through The Hope Affair support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund. As the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States, kidney disease affects an estimated 31 million Americans, with millions more at risk. In 2012, the American Kidney Fund helped nearly 84,000 U.S. dialysis patients with treatment-related expenses, and through its national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease, provided more than 27,000 free kidney health screenings nationwide.

The Hope Affair’s 2013 Platinum level sponsor is American Renal Associates. Additional sponsors include Amgen (Diamond level sponsor), Sanofi Renal (Gold level sponsor) and U.S. Renal Care, Inc. (Silver level sponsor). A full sponsor listing, along with complete details about the event, can be found at

For more information about the American Kidney Fund, visit


About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund fights kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, health education and prevention efforts. It leads the nation in charitable assistance to dialysis patients. Last year, nearly 84,000 people—1 out of every 5 U.S. dialysis patients—received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. The American Kidney Fund reaches millions of people annually through its national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease; free kidney health screenings; health education materials and courses; online outreach, and a toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900). For more information, visit

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