NKF Honors Members of Congress For Advancing Kidney Cause

left to right: First Citizens Bank Assistant Vice President Daryle McGhee, the evening's keynote speaker, Former HHS Secretary and Governor Tommy Thompson, WJLA Anchor, Jummy Olabanji, NKF Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Skyer and Congressman Fred Upton.

The National Capital Area (DC) division of the National Kidney Foundation held its first ever Congressional Dinner last week. The event drew about 100 of the city's top leaders in politics, business, philanthropy and media.

Chairperson for the evening was Former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Governor Tommy Thompson. While in office, Thompson spearheaded the designation of April as National Donate Life Month. He encouraged the crowd to talk to their friends and loved ones about becoming an organ donor because, "God wants our souls in heaven, not our organs."

Emceed by ABC7/WJLA-TV anchor, Jummy Olabanji - a board member of the National Kidney Foundation in DC, the event honored Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) for their work on critical issues affecting the millions of Americans affected by kidney disease. Rep. Upton has helped meet the needs of kidney patients through various legislative initiatives, including the establishment of Medicare's Nutrition Therapy Benefit and co-sponsorship of the Charlie Norwood Paired Kidney Donation Bill that has made it possible for more individuals to assist a loved one by becoming a living kidney donor.

Meanwhile, Senator Harkin is known as an important leader in Congress, representing the needs of people with chronic disease. Senator Harkin has been a steadfast supporter of one of NKF's top legislative priorities--the CDC's chronic kidney disease program to develop public health strategies targeted at the high risk population.

During the dinner, guests also heard from Daryle McGhee, a DC-area resident who received a kidney transplant from his mother several years ago. McGhee told the crowd of how he's gone from the brink of death to a life of good health. He also shared his newfound passion for supporting the National Kidney Foundation and its mission.

Platinum sponsors for the dinner were Aramco Services Company, Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and WellPoint, Inc.