For 51-year-old Brooklyn, NY native Shelba Jones, volunteering is simply an extension of the career that she loves. A hemodialysis technician for nearly three decades, Jones has stayed in the field so long because she enjoys developing close relationships with her patients and working in a dialysis unit where people come in for treatment three times a week offers ample opportunity to do just that.
Over the years, Jones has realized that outside of the dialysis unit, not too many people know much about chronic kidney disease, despite the fact that it's on the rise and 26 million Americans currently have it. So she started making a dent by teaching an awareness class to members of her church. Where did she turn for information? The National Kidney Foundation. Not only did she receive some brochures on kidney disease and risk factors, the local NY office provided her with a presentation called "Love Your Kidneys, Know the Score," complete with powerpoint slides and handouts for participants. Jones has since used these materials to educate hundreds about the kidneys' critical role in keeping the body healthy, what to look for as signs of kidney damage and what tests to take to measure kidney function.
But her involvement didn't stop there. Jones, who fast became a part of the NKF family, was roped into volunteering at free screenings provided by the local NKF office through the Kidney Early Evaluation Program. She performs the family history and blood pressure screenings at those events and says, "I'm only too thrilled to talk with people who want to learn about their health and to help them understand that early detection can make a real difference in preventing further kidney damage."
Jones is on a mission to spread the word about kidney disease and inspire others to join the fight. "It is extremely rewarding for me as health care professional to give back to the National Kidney Foundation, an organization that is truly focused on helping the millions who are at risk as well as those who already have chronic kidney disease, " says Jones. "I am thrilled to be part of the NKF's wide-ranging initiatives to educate the public about kidney health. I certainly have seen first hand how important it is to take care of your kidneys before it's too late."
When she's not involved in her kidney crusade, Jones enjoys relaxing with a good novel and she unwinds by listening to jazz, power walking and bowling. Those activities give her renewed strength to fulfill her passion and join her most "caring and professional" NKF friends in their shared mission to prevent kidney disease and improve the health of patients and families affected by the disease.