Press release

11th Annual American Kidney Fund Gala, The Hope Affair, Honors People Fighting Kidney Disease

ROCKVILLE, Md. (Oct. 1, 2019) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) will host its 11th annual gala, The Hope Affair, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The Hope Affair brings together patients, caregivers, advocates, supporters and policymakers to celebrate inspirational individuals whose lives are a testament to hope in the fight against kidney disease.

With the theme "Building a Stronger Tomorrow," the event will highlight advances in research and treatment of kidney disease, and AKF's lifesaving programs that help millions of Americans with kidney disease to live healthier lives. The Hope Affair will be emceed by Emmy Award-winning FOX 5 news anchor Shawn Yancy and will honor:

  • Dr. Ken Sutha, a pediatric nephrologist, researcher, and two-time kidney transplant recipient from Menlo Park, California, will be honored as AKF's 2019 Hero of Hope. In addition to his professional career, Dr. Sutha is an AKF Ambassador, advocating for public policy that supports patients, funds kidney disease research, increases kidney transplants and improves care.
  • Emme Oberbreckling, a 9-year-old kidney transplant recipient from Mechanicsville, Iowa, will be recognized as AKF's Calendar Kids Cover Artist. Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that causes kidney failure, Emme in April received a lifesaving kidney donation from her father. On her last day in the hospital following her transplant, Emme painted a tribute to her family called "Transplant Love." Her artwork received the most votes from the public in AKF's nationwide Calendar Kids Art Contest and is featured on the cover of AKF's 2020 calendar.
  • Tracy Robinson, a teacher, and her 2nd grade students at Raymond Education Campus, a public school in Washington, D.C., will receive the KidneyNation Excellence Award. After learning that Tracy's mother was a dialysis patient, the children generously worked to raise money to support AKF's programs and services that fight kidney disease as part of a service learning project about kidney health.

Special guests to be recognized at the event include Dr. Alicia Neu, a pediatric nephrologist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore and a group of young campers from the Children's Center's Camp All-Stars. Camp All-Stars is an overnight camp empowering pediatric kidney patients and their families through education, activities and friendship-building in a fun environment that can meet the campers' complex medical needs. AKF was a sponsor of this year's Camp All-Stars through a generous grant from the Rockville-based Robert I. Schattner Foundation.

"Our honorees and special guests and The Hope Affair 2019 exemplify the strength and perseverance that are required to live and thrive with kidney disease," said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. "The Hope Affair is an evening to celebrate these inspirational individuals and to recognize the genuine spirit of caring in the kidney community, as we work together to support patients and advance innovation in the prevention, detection and treatment of kidney disease. We are grateful to our many sponsors who help fund our lifesaving work by supporting this event."

All proceeds raised through The Hope Affair will support AKF's prevention, early detection, financial support, disease management, clinical research, innovation and advocacy programs. AKF invests 97 cents of every dollar donated in patients and programs.

"Amgen is proud of its longstanding support and partnership with the American Kidney Fund and the ongoing support for better patient care," said Ned Endler, executive director, Nephrology at Amgen. "We look forward to joining the American Kidney Fund at the Hope Affair to celebrate patients and their caregivers."

The Hope Affair 2019 is made possible thanks to generous lead support from Platinum Sponsor Amgen, Diamond Sponsor Akebia Therapeutics and Silver Sponsor Satellite Healthcare, along with many other corporate and individual supporters. A full sponsor listing can be found at

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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