ROCKVILLE, Md. (Sept. 14, 2023) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today launched the David Atkins Fund, created in collaboration with Matt Glazier and Julia Pepe to help reduce challenges, both financial and educational, for living kidney donors. The new fund — named in honor of Matt Glazier's friend and kidney donor David Atkins — will provide financial reimbursement to living donors who donate a kidney to a patient in Massachusetts for expenses related to donation such as transportation, meals, lost wages and childcare.
The David Atkins Fund kicks off tonight with A Night Out to Support Living Organ Donors, which will be held at the Castle Island Brewery in South Boston, Massachusetts. More than $100,000 has already been raised.
"AKF is honored to partner with Matt and Julia to launch the David Atkins Fund and support living organ donors," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF CEO and President. "We hope that the grants the fund will provide will reduce potential barriers for people who want to give this incredible gift but may have reservations or hardships due to the financial costs associated with donating."
The donor support fund aims to initially provide 50 grants for living donors who either do not qualify for any state financial support or who have supplemental expenses they need covered. While the transplant recipient needs to be a resident of Massachusetts, the grants are available to organ donors from anywhere in the United States.
"I was incredibly fortunate to find a donor like Dave," said Glazier, who met Atkins in 2018 while the two were living in San Francisco. "That he had the knowledge and resources to understand the risks and benefits of organ donation, that he was financially able to take time off of work and was willing to leave his family behind to fly to Boston for endless testing. Dave saved my life and gave me the gift of a second chance. I am one of the lucky ones. Julia and I think daily about how difficult the donor process is for most people, and how lucky we were to have such an amazing network willing to support us. Our goal now is to pay it forward."
Matt was diagnosed in January 2021 with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), a genetic disease that causes tiny blood clots to form in blood vessels, blocking blood flow to important organs. The disease is very rare, with the aHUS Foundation estimating that fewer than 625 people in the United States have aHUS. The disease severely damaged Matt's kidneys to the point that they failed, requiring that he receive dialysis treatment and eventually a kidney transplant.
There are nearly 104,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and over 90,000 of them are waiting for a kidney. In Massachusetts alone, 3,653 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 26,310 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2022, approximately 1 out of 5 were made possible by living organ donors. In Massachusetts, 111 of the 358 kidney transplants performed in 2022 were from living donors.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million 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. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.