National Kidney Foundation Celebrates 60th Anniversary

New York, NY (November 15, 2010) - The National Kidney Foundation, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to preventing and treating kidney disease, today celebrates its 60th anniversary. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) was founded on November 15, 1950 by Ada and Harry Debold, the parents of a toddler stricken with an incurable disease called nephrosis.

“Over the last sixty years, there has been a revolution in treatment and detection,” says John Davis, NKF CEO. “Kidney failure is no longer a death sentence. The advent of kidney transplantation in 1954 and the invention of the Teflon shunt in 1964 that made dialysis possible, changed the course of treatment and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The National Kidney Foundation has initiated ground-breaking programs in research, patient advocacy, public and professional education and organ donation.”

Over the last six decades, the foundation’s major achievements include:

  • Establishing a Research Support Program that has awarded more than 1,000 grants to scientists at major centers across the U.S., totaling $80 million;
  • Leading the effort to create the Medicare End Stage Renal Disease Program that has provided access to life-saving treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients;
  • Advocating for the passage of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, establishing the organ donor card as a legal document;
  • Launching numerous public education campaigns featuring health messages on early detection, risk factors and organ donation from various celebrities that have reached millions;
  • Creating the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, one of the most respected peer-reviewed publications in the field of kidney disease;
  • Establishing clinical practice guidelines that improve patient care across the spectrum of chronic kidney disease;
  • Creating the Kidney Early Evaluation Program, a nationwide free screening program that has tested thousands of Americans at risk for kidney disease;
  • Launching People Like Us, a patient empowerment and advocacy group that is comprised of thousands of dialysis patients, transplant recipients, donor families and living donors.

Since scientists learned that kidney disease is progressive and detection and medical intervention can begin early, the National Kidney Foundation continues to support those with kidney failure but has added a new focus on kidney health education.

In honor of this special birthday, the foundation has produced a 2011 calendar featuring kidney health tips, medical milestones and original art created by kidney transplant recipients, organ donors and professionals in the field. To order the $6 calendar, go to To support the foundation’s life-saving work, make a donation at

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney diseases, improving the health and well being of patients and families affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for transplantation. To learn more visit