Our progress starts with you. In the last few months alone, we’ve reached exciting milestones in many areas of our work thanks to the unwavering support of individuals like you around the country. Together, we’re impacting the development of new therapies for kidney patients while championing critically needed policy changes. Because of you, we’re continuing to be a support system and a source of guidance for those who need us most.
2017-2018 Successes Made Possible by YOU:
- 41,000 letters and tweets sent to Congress on our legislative priorities. These include messages supporting the Living Donor Protection Act, to promote early detection and treatment, and federal funding for kidney disease research and programs.
- Job Security for living donors under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). NKF worked with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler to ensure that eligible employees who take time off for surgery and recovery will have their jobs guaranteed when they return to work.
- 80 co-sponsors added in favor of the Living Donor Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, twice as many as the last two-year Congress.
- Defended funding for Pennsylvania’s Chronic Renal Disease Program (CRDP). Advocates eased reductions in funding from a proposed 80% to only 12%
- 18 proclamations passed in celebration of kidney patients and living donors
Removing Barriers to Living Kidney Donation
We’re thrilled to announce a significant win which will remove a barrier to living organ donation. Through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), qualified living organ donors will no longer have to worry about losing their jobs. NKF worked with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) to develop language that was included in the Committee Report on the FY2019 Appropriations Bill for the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The provision asked the DOL to issue a determination on whether or not living donors who qualify for FMLA are eligible for family medical leave when they donate an organ. This means living donors who take time off for surgery and recovery will have their jobs guaranteed when they return to work.
A Community of Hope for Parents
This September, NKF launched a new online pediatric community just for parents of children with kidney disease. The new online community, Parents of Children with Kidney Disease, is supported through the HealthUnlocked platform and is a safe and supportive space where parents can share their experiences, ask questions, and get answers to what matters most. Kelly Cline, whose daughter Hannah had a kidney transplant at age 11 said, “the comfort of knowing that someone else knows what you are facing cannot be described sufficiently in words.”
A New ‘Secret Weapon’ In Our Fight Against Kidney Disease
When Benjamin Freedman, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, at the University of Washington School of Medicine began his kidney disease research he understood firsthand the critical need to advance treatment because his uncle was waiting for a second transplant. A two-time recipient of the NKF Young Investigator Research Grant, Freedman’s work resulted in a scientific breakthrough - one with the potential to shape the field of regenerative medicine and drug discovery for kidney patients. Freedman and his team of researchers designed a system that uses robots to automate the production of human-mini organs derived from stem cells. Scientists have increased the speed and precision of the mini-organ process, while also perfecting organoids that are much more like real kidneys. Freedman said, “this is a new ‘secret weapon’ in our fight against kidney disease.”