From June 6-10, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) held its third annual Kidney Action Week – a week-long, virtual event aiming to connect people with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers in AKF's on-going efforts to bring patient-centered kidney-related education to the public. Kidney Action Week 2022 included 19 sessions and the new addition of 15 pre-recorded mini-sessions, which provided viewers with digestable information while keeping them engaged during the breaks between live sessions. Mini-session topics included cooking demonstrations, mental health discussions and even chair yoga!
Missed this year's Kidney Action Week? Don't worry! All sessions were recorded and can be viewed at your leisure at KidneyActionWeek.org or on AKF's YouTube channel. Here are a few sessions you may be interested in watching:
Home dialysis can provide people with kidney failure with more flexibility and better health outcomes. Despite its benefits, home dialysis usage in the United States is still low.
Dr. Maria Camila Bermudez, a nephrologist, joined AKF Ambassadors John R.B. Bayton and Kyle Chang to discuss common myths about home dialysis and how to explore treatment options with your healthcare team.
In this inspiring session, Dr. Bermudez dispelled the myth that having too small of a home can disqualify you for home dialysis and shared different options for receiving supplies. John and Kyle shared their individual journeys with kidney disease, as well as the ups and downs of home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
When a person is considered for a kidney transplant, an evaluation team takes into account their physical and mental health, as well as their finances. Dr. Velma Scantlebury-White, the first Black female transplant surgeon in the United States, joined social worker Hannah Graves and kidney transplant recipient Mary Baliker to empower patients to take an active role in working with their healthcare team.
Each speaker had key takeaways for the audience: Mary recommended joining the transplant waitlist as soon as possible and staying in touch with your evaluation team because they are available to help. Hannah echoed Mary's sentiments and noted the waitlist can be a challenging process. However, she compared waiting for your matching kidney to waiting for your "true love." That is, the process cannot be rushed and it is worth waiting for a kidney that is the best match. Dr. Scantlebury offered words of encouragement and recommended starting the conversation about kidney disease and the need for a living donor with family members early in the process.
While many people may experience mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, people living with kidney disease or a transplant are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. In this new session topic, Dr. Robert Montgomery and Dr. Sapna Mehta discussed how immunocompromised individuals can stay protected against COVID-19.
Dr. Mehta provided an engaging overview of monoclonal antibodies (antibodies made by cloning a specific white blood cell) and Evusheld. Dr. Montgomery also shared his interesting perspective as both a transplant surgeon and a heart transplant recipient. Dr. Mehta and Dr. Montgomery also left the audience with a few recommendations: Dr. Montgomery advised people living with kidney disease or a transplant to remain careful when attending events while finding ways to re-engage in activities that are meaningful. Dr. Mehta recommended having conversations with your family, as well as your healthcare provider, about concerns regarding returning to normal and how to safely resume the activities you enjoy.
And be sure to save the date for Kidney Action Week 2023! Next year's Kidney Action Week will be held during Kidney Month and is scheduled March 20-24. We hope you are able to join us!
Kidney Action Week was made possible by the generosity of Presenting sponsors Boehringer Ingelheim/Lilly and U.S. Renal Care, as well as Calliditas Therapeutics, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
AKF is also grateful for session sponsors Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca and Satellite Healthcare.