Blog post

The story behind the Daphne Veys Memorial Patient Assistance Fund

Before a fund was started in her memory, Daphne Veys inspired others with her courage, optimism and grace while battling kidney disease.
Daphne Veys

Often, when a person is going through a difficult life journey, they'll ask "why me?" But throughout her struggle with kidney disease, my sister Daphne always persevered with patience, gratitude and dignity. When Daphne was 16, my mother, a nurse, knew something was off with her daughter. Eventually, Daphne was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy — a kidney disease that hampers a person's ability to filter waste from the blood.

Our family was optimistic about her diagnosis at first, as only 20% of IgA nephropathy cases evolve to kidney failure. Unfortunately, Daphne was in that 20 percent. Her condition worsened, and she had to begin dialysis treatments. My mother donated her own kidney, and Daphne would go on to receive two more transplants. Despite her high-level medical care, these transplants failed, and she was forced to restart dialysis.

For nearly 20 years, Daphne fought valiantly. She endured more than 30 surgeries and countless hospitalizations. In spite of her hardships, Daphne had a zest for life and doted on her four nieces and nephews — she was adored by all and had a genuine interest in the struggles and well-being of others. Daphne was a true inspiration to everyone around her. But by the age of 36, she succumbed to the complications of kidney disease.

Daphne's journey motivated my parents and me to help other patients like her. We were impressed by AKF's high ranking among charities and decided to work with them to accomplish our goal. In 2021, we established the Daphne Veys Memorial Patient Assistance Fund to honor my sister's story. This fund helps provide safety net grants to low-income dialysis and transplant patients to increase access to life-saving care.

I am positive Daphne would be proud of the work AKF is doing in her name.

To apply for one of the grants this fund supports, visit AKF's Safety Net Program page.


Dr. Joseph Veys

Dr. Joseph Veys was born in Buffalo, NY. He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was a valedictorian and National Merit Scholar at Sycamore High School. He graduated from M.I.T. in 1995 with a BS in biology, receiving the Hodges Prize for outstanding thesis. Dr. Veys earned his MD in 1999 from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. He then did a urology residency in Winston-Salem, NC at Wake Forest University, where he received the 2003 Gold Award in Clinical Sciences for his research on kidney cancer.

Dr. Veys began practicing at North Georgia Urology Center in 2006 and is board certified. In his free time, he enjoys racquetball, reading, spicy food, bargain hunting and spending time with his wife, Emma, and their four children.