American Kidney Fund's Annual Gala Recognizes Stories of Inspiration in Fight Against Kidney Disease


ROCKVILLE, Md. (October 1, 2015) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) hosted its seventh annual gala, The Hope Affair, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in the nation’s capital. The event, themed “Drawing Inspiration,” was emceed by Emmy Award-winning FOX 5 news anchor Shawn Yancy.

The Hope Affair took its theme this year from the 20th anniversary of AKF’s Calendar Kids Program, an annual art contest for children living with kidney disease. In addition to recognizing the 2016 “Calendar Kids” Cover Artist, AKF honored its 2015 Caregiver of the Year and 2015 Hero of Hope. These individuals are changing the lives of kidney patients through their selfless and compassionate work.

“The Hope Affair is a time to recognize and celebrate those who are making a difference within the kidney community, including those who are living with the disease but who find positives in their situations,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “We are grateful to our supporters who celebrated our remarkable honorees with us at Wednesday’s gala, and who make it possible for us to continue our education, prevention and financial assistance efforts, reaching tens of thousands of Americans annually.”

Each year, AKF asks the public to help choose the honorees for The Hope Affair. Hundreds of people submitted nominations earlier this year for the Hero of Hope and Caregiver of the Year awards, and thousands of people voted in AKF’s online contest to select the 2016 calendar cover artist.

Angela Davis of Queens, New York, a dialysis patient who helps fellow patients overcome the isolation and depression that so often accompanies kidney failure, received the 2015 Hero of Hope award on Wednesday night.

Patrick Hawkins, a nurse practitioner from Flint, Michigan, whose philosophy on patient care—“Everyone is someone’s someone”—informs his every patient interaction, received the 2015 Caregiver of the Year award.

Kaylee Clabough, 8, of Hartselle, Alabama, was honored as the 2016 “Calendar Kids” Cover Artist after receiving the greatest number of votes from the public in AKF’s annual nationwide art contest for children with kidney disease.

The Hope Affair brought together more than 325 guests and raised close to $650,000 to support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund. Kidney disease affects an estimated 31 million Americans, with millions more at risk. In 2014, the American Kidney Fund provided treatment-related grants to more than 84,000 U.S. dialysis patients, and provided free kidney health screenings to 13,000 at-risk people in 22 cities nationwide.

“We are proud to join the kidney care community in our support of The Hope Affair, which helps fund the American Kidney Fund’s lifesaving programs,” said Joe Carlucci, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of American Renal Associates, the evening’s platinum sponsor. “The Hope Affair 2015 was a night to celebrate our work together as a community and our mutual commitment to helping dialysis patients.”

Recognizing the importance of kidney awareness and education, members of Congress participated in the evening, including Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Dan Kildee (D-MI). Guests also enjoyed performances by Howard University’s premier vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue.

“As a nation, we haven’t done enough to support medical research to find the cures we need. In Congress, I will continue to fight to make sure that the funding is in place, and roll back some of those drastic cuts to research that are so essential to finding better treatments and ultimately cures to so many of the diseases that are suffered by people across this country,” said Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI). “It’s an honor just to be a small part of this, and to be part of presenting the 2015 Caregiver of the Year Award to somebody from my own hometown, an amazing human being, Dr. Patrick Hawkins.”

The Hope Affair 2015 was made possible thanks to generous support from platinum sponsor American Renal Associates. Support was also provided by silver sponsors Amgen, Sanofi Renal, and Satellite Healthcare, and bronze sponsors DaVita Healthcare Partners, Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Right Advisory LLC, and ZS Pharma. A full sponsor listing, along with complete details on the event, can be found at

For more information about the American Kidney Fund, visit