Press release

12-year-old Boy from Waterloo, Iowa Wins American Kidney Fund National Art Contest for Pediatric Kidney Patients

Anibal "Yobani" Lopez of Waterloo, Iowa will be the cover artist for 2023 AKF Calendar

ROCKVILLE, Md. (Oct. 6, 2022) – A young kidney transplant recipient from Waterloo, IA has won the American Kidney Fund's (AKF) 27th annual national Calendar Kids Art Contest. Twelve-year-old Anibal Yobani Lopez's artwork will appear on the cover of AKF's 2023 calendar, and he will be honored at AKF's national gala, The Hope Affair, on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Yobani was one of 13 pediatric kidney patient finalists competing to have their artwork featured on the calendar's cover. Members of the public were able to give their input and voted on their favorite artwork on AKF's website. Yobani's touching and inspiring artwork, "From Kidneys with Love," features two kidneys with a Valentine's Day twist: one holding a heart and one dressed as Cupid. He is humble about his accomplishment, saying he "never thought I would win," and he encouraged other children with kidney disease to remain hopeful. "Don't be scared of surgeries," said Yobani. "Everything will be okay."

AKF's 2023 calendar featuring Yobani's winning artwork on the cover will be published in October and available for purchase on AKF's website. Yobani will be recognized during The Hope Affair, taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. To purchase a ticket for the Hope Affair, click here.

"Yobani's joyful drawing provides us with a beautiful reminder of the love and support that surrounds children with kidney disease," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "At AKF, we are committed to improving the lives of everyone who is impacted by kidney disease. We are so appreciative of all the children who submitted their artwork for this year's contest, and we congratulate Yobani on being our cover artist. Thank you to all our calendar artists for inspiring us to stay positive and keep hope alive."

Dozens of children and teens with kidney disease from across the United States submitted their artwork for this annual contest. Each of the finalists will receive a canvas-wrapped print of their artwork, along with a gift card.

Other young kidney patients whose artwork will appear in AKF's 2023 calendar include:

  • Lamara Al-Nadi, 16, Hendersonville, Tennessee ("Best Gift Ever")
  • Daniel Salgadovalencia, 10, Phoenix, Arizona ("Together Forever")
  • Kylie McGlothin, 15, Weirton, West Virginia ("Kidney Transplant")
  • Jameson Lesieur, 9, Washougal, Washington ("The Lion King")
  • Natalie Medina, 16, Dallas, Texas ("Kidney Love")
  • Kennidi Davis, 17, Humble, Texas ("Lupus Girl")
  • Arely Barragan, 16, Houston, Texas ("H.O.P.E.")
  • Nashaya Latimore-Coates, 16, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("It's All in the Words")
  • Erin Cortese, 12, Colorado Springs, Colorado ("Smile")
  • Stephanie Atenco-Torres, 17, Norristown, Pennsylvania ("Everybody Gets Their Wish")
  • Heather Burdick, 11, Des Moines, Washington ("Kidneys on a Beach")
  • Eilidh McMillin, 6, Ankeny, Iowa ("Galaxy")

AKF's Calendar Kids Art Contest, part of AKF's programming for children with kidney disease, provides an opportunity for pediatric kidney patients to express themselves through artwork and to receive national recognition while increasing awareness of kidney disease throughout the United States.

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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