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Media Contact:
Tenee Hawkins
Director of Communications

For Immediate Release

American Kidney Fund Hosts Third Annual Gala, The Hope Affair

The Annual Event, Featuring Spokesperson Laila Ali, Honored Patients, Caregivers, and Nephrologists While Celebrating its 40th Anniversary of Caring

WASHINGTON (November 1, 2011)— The American Kidney Fund’s third annual national gala, The Hope Affair, last Tuesday night in Washington, DC was joined by celebrity health champion Laila Ali as the organization celebrated ‘40 Years of Caring’ with renal industry leaders and policymakers. Throughout the evening four special individuals were honored for their inspirational achievements.

For 40 years, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) has been dedicated to fighting kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, education and prevention efforts. The Hope Affair raised funds for these programs and services and brought together more than 300 kidney health advocates, including Members of Congress. The event was held at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and Washington, DC’s FOX 5 news anchor, Shawn Yancy, served as emcee.

The gala was well attended by policymakers, with the co-chairs of the Congressional Kidney Caucus, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), speaking about the importance of fighting kidney disease. Other Members of Congress present included Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

“As co-chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus it is important to me that I support efforts that raise awareness of chronic kidney disease,” Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) said. “I want to thank the American Kidney Fund for hosting The Hope Affair and allowing me to be a small part of an event that makes such a big difference in the fight against kidney disease.”

As part of this year’s program, AKF introduced guests to its recently launched national public awareness campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease. The campaign’s celebrity health champion, Laila Ali, shared remarks with guests about her commitment to rallying women nationwide to learn their risks and steps to take in order to prevent kidney disease and protect their loved ones.

During the evening, AKF honored four individuals for their inspirational stories, achievements, and contributions to the renal community. These individuals and respective awards include: Glenn M. Chertow, MD, MPH, ‘Nephrologist of the Year;’ Danielle Long, ‘Calendar Kids Cover Artist’ winner; Corey S. Furman, ‘Hero of Hope;’ and Bernice Strange, ‘Caregiver of the Year.’

“We are so grateful to all those who helped make the evening memorable and remarkable,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “The American Kidney Fund is pleased to have been able to share the inspirational stories of those being honored as well as the launch of our Pair Up campaign with members of the kidney care community. The event was a fitting celebration of our 40 year history of caring for people with kidney disease and raising awareness of kidney disease for the millions of Americans at risk.”

A particular highlight of the evening was entertainment by Chicago blues and funk performer Michael Coleman. Mr. Coleman continues to perform live gigs without fail despite receiving dialysis treatments three times a week.

All proceeds from The Hope Affair directly support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund. The 2011 Platinum level sponsor was Amgen with Fresenius Medical Care as the Diamond level sponsor. Gold level sponsors included American Renal Associates, DaVita, and Sanofi.


About the American Kidney Fund

The mission of the American Kidney Fund is to fight kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need; health education; and prevention efforts. The American Kidney Fund leads the nation in providing charitable assistance to dialysis patients who need help with the costs associated with treating kidney failure. Last year, 101,000 people—1 out of every 4 dialysis patients in the United States—received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. Millions of people nationwide benefit annually from the American Kidney Fund’s efforts to fight kidney disease through public awareness campaigns, free health screenings, health education materials and courses, online outreach, and toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900).

As a nine-time recipient of the top “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator, the American Kidney Fund is ranked among the top 1 percent of charities nationwide for fiscal accountability. In addition, the American Kidney Fund holds an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy; adheres to the National Health Council Standards of Excellence; and is a member of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, visit

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