November 9, 2023, 7:00pm – 8:00pm EST

The Impact of Camaraderie in the Kidney Community: Veterans Day Special

Daily life with kidney disease can bring challenges but finding support through your community can ease your day-to-day. As part of a partnership between the American Kidney Fund and the Veterans Health Administration, this talk will feature panelists who will share their individual experiences as veterans living through kidney disease diagnosis, dialysis, and transplantation. They will highlight the perspectives in which being a member of the military impacted their journeys and share resources to help other veterans navigate similar challenges.

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Lindsay Gutierrez

Lindsay Gutierrez

Lindsay Gutierrez is a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving at the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath from 2011-2016. Lindsay holds an MA in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Social Work degree from Arizona State University. She currently works for the Department of Defense in Washington DC.

While competing at the American Elegance Pageant in 2021, Lindsay became interested in donating her kidney and connected with DOVE (Donor Outreach for Veterans) to get more info on the process. Through DOVE, Lindsay was connected to her recipient, also a military veteran, as a non-directed donor; on May 25, 2022, Lindsay is a part of the first living chain donation in the Bronx VA’s history. Since donating her kidney, she has participated in many adventures to show there’s no limit to what one can do post-donation. Lindsay uses her kidney donation journey as a part of her pageant platform to champion for organ donation and is proud to represent as Mrs. American Elegance 2022-2023.

Lindsay’s favorite quote and life motto is “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Colonel David Jones

Colonel David Jones

Colonel David Jones is a Logistics Officer and Foreign Area Officer (Latin America), who is currently assigned to Joint Base Meyer-Henderson. He was commissioned in 1992 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has commanded at all levels throughout his career.  As a Lieutenant Colonel, he commanded Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 and was the lead unit for 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. As a Colonel, he commanded Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Johnson, NC. Colonel Jones was selected and served as the third Marine Corps Military Aide to the Vice President of the United States.  He is a graduate of The Basic School; Amphibious Warfare School; Army Combined Logistics Career Captains Course (with honors); Marine Corps Command and Staff College (non-resident); and National War College.  Colonel Jones is also a graduate of Campbell University’s MBA program and Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.  His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with gold star in lieu of second award, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award and the Humanitarian Service Medal. He and his wife, Thais, have three children.

Colonel Jones was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease in 1996 while stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.  He managed his disease with a healthy lifestyle and expert civilian and military medical care, and the disease had minimal impact throughout his career.  He recently received a kidney transplant from a live donor on 4 November 2022.

Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz is a United States Navy veteran who served six years as a Sonar Technician. While stationed on board the guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman DDG-98 out of Norfolk, Virginia, she traveled to 23 different countries on five continents. After leaving the military she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology with a focus in Mechatronics.

After serving in the U.S. Navy, she was able to sign up for a program that gave her free VA Healthcare for five years. She was fortunate to have an amazing VA team based out of Madison, Wisconsin who saved her life by discovering she had stage 3B kidney disease. Rachel was informed that she had a rare kidney disease called IgA Nephropathy (also known as Berger's Disease), requiring her to have a kidney transplant within five years. Thankfully, on December 4th, 2019, she received a transplanted kidney.

Mike Spigler

Mike Spigler - Moderator

Mike Spigler has served as vice president of Patient Support and Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has nearly 25 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders.