National Kidney Foundation Honors Senator Harkin and Congressman Upton at First-Ever Congressional Dinner

Former HHS Secretary and Governor Tommy G. Thompson Serves as Dinner Chair

Washington, DC - On March 24, 2014, the National Kidney Foundation hosted its first ever Congressional Dinner event honoring Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6) for their work as champions of critical issues on behalf of the millions of Americans affected by kidney disease.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary and Governor Tommy Thompson chaired this inaugural event where guests enjoyed cocktails and dinner in an intimate setting, and the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow government relations professionals representing a variety of industries and issue areas. Daryle McGhee, Assistant Vice President at First Citizens Bank in Arlington, VA and kidney transplant recipient, shared his story as the Keynote Speaker.

Senator Tom Harkin has represented Iowa in Congress for nearly 40 years. "A decade ago, I was shocked to learn that there was no national public health program for chronic kidney disease that combined the resources of federal and state governments. As we all know, kidney disease can be prevented by early detection," said Senator Harkin. "That's why I was proud to secure funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish the National Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance system - a medical research program that has developed screening and demonstration projects for identifying people at high risk of chronic kidney disease. We have also seen progress with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a law that prevents Americans with chronic illnesses like kidney disease from being denied affordable insurance, or losing their health coverage once they get sick. Thank you to the National Kidney Foundation for this generous award, and the great work that you do to give hope to tens of millions of Americans fighting kidney disease." Harkin is the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

Congressman Fred Upton has served Michigan's 6th Congressional district since 1987. Since 2011, Upton has served as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning health care, energy, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations. "I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the National Kidney Foundation - an organization that is fighting on the frontlines for the millions of kidney disease patients across the country," said Upton. "I am proud of my committee's record of bipartisan success on public health issues with several landmark bills now signed into law. I look forward to building upon that record in 2014 as we focus our efforts on accelerating cures to provide new hope for patients and to ensure America maintains its leadership role in health research and care."

Tommy G. Thompson currently is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thompson Holdings, and former United States Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary and four-term Governor of Wisconsin. In 2001, as HHS Secretary, Governor Thompson launched his national Gift of Life Donation Initiative to increase organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donation. Following his term in public office, he built, and continues to build with his work at Thompson Holdings, on his efforts as HHS Secretary and Governor to develop innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing American families, businesses, communities, states, and the nation as a whole. These efforts focus on improving the use of information technology in hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices; promoting healthier lifestyles; strengthening and modernizing Medicare and Medicaid; and expanding the use of medical diplomacy around the world.

The 2014 Congressional Dinner was sponsored by Aramco Services Company, Astellas Pharma US, Inc., WellPoint, Inc. and many others.

The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk.

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.