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Media Contact:
Tamara Ruggiero
Vice President of Communications and Marketing

Patient-Advocates Will Bring Kidney Disease Awareness to Capitol Hill on World Kidney Day

ROCKVILLE, Md. (March 8, 2011)—Congressional leaders will learn about the experiences of constituents living with kidney disease and how it can be prevented from kidney patient-advocates participating in the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) second annual Advocate Training and Fly-in to commemorate World Kidney Day on March 10.
The seven AKF advocates represent a cross-section of people affected by kidney disease: four use a variety of dialysis regimens, one has had a kidney transplant, one has chronic kidney disease and one lost a family member to kidney disease. Several received AKF grants to help pay health insurance premiums and other treatment-related costs.

The advocates’ Washington activities will kick off March 9 with a special training session followed by a congressional reception co-sponsored by AKF, the National Kidney Foundation, Dialysis Patient Citizens, and the Renal Physicians Association. They will meet with their congressional representatives on the 10th.
“No one can communicate better than patients what it’s like to live with kidney disease, and the American Kidney Fund is proud to engage these brave and committed advocates in putting the spotlight on kidney disease and prevention,” said LaVarne A. Burton, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund.
The AKF 2011 advocates are:

  • Phillip Atkins, Gaithersburg, Md.—dialysis patient, AKF grant recipient
  • Eric Dolby, Raleigh, N.C.— home dialysis patient, AKF grant recipient
  • Olivia Fox, Annapolis, Md.—dialysis patient, Washington radio personality
  • Jason Hershey, Muskegon, Mich.—peritoneal dialysis patient, AKF grant recipient
  • Patricia Meyers, Collinsville, Ill.—transplant patient, AKF grant recipient
  • Bernard Ofori-Atta, South Holland, Ill.—son of deceased kidney patient
  • Elizabeth Smith, Cincinnati—patient living with chronic kidney disease.

Find more information about AKF’s National Kidney Month celebration and Advocacy Network.


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, 101,000 people—1 out of every 4 U.S. dialysis patients—received assistance from the AKF for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. AKF also fights 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). For more information, visit

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