Press release

Honoring the Legacy of John Lewis: American Kidney Fund Statement

ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 18, 2020) — LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, today issued this statement on the passing of Congressman John Lewis:

"The nation has lost one of its greatest heroes with the passing of Congressman John Lewis. I was honored to work with and know him personally, and to speak with him was to be touched by his unwavering passion for making our world a better and more just place. John Lewis was about actions, not words. He risked his life for civil rights; he served his nation in Congress for 33 years; and he never faltered in his belief that freedom wasn't an abstract state, but rather 'the continuous action we all must take.'

"Congressman Lewis was a particular hero to the kidney community. He championed important legislation to improve the quality of care for kidney patients and to increase kidney disease education and prevention. He partnered with AKF on our very first Kidney Action Day screening and prevention event in Atlanta and attended several others, always demonstrating through actions his belief that it was possible to reduce the enormous health disparities that are prevalent in kidney failure. In 2009, AKF recognized Congressman Lewis as the honoree at our first national gala, The Hope Affair, an event that honors people who make an extraordinary contribution to improve the lives of persons affected by kidney disease.

"In all that he did, he remained full of optimism and love, and he reminded us that even in the darkest times, we can work together to build a better society. In his 2017 memoir, he called on each generation to 'do its part to create an even more fair, more just society,' and that challenge is particularly resonant today. In the midst of these extraordinarily challenging times for our nation, let us honor the life of John Lewis through concrete actions that elevate the equality, freedom and health of all Americans."

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.

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