Wisconsin Kidney Patient, Advocate Wins NKF's Celeste Castillo Lee Award

Mary Baliker to receive honor at NKF Spring Clinical Meetings 2019
January 30, 2019, New York, NY- Each year the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) presents the Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award, which was established in honor of Celeste Castillo Lee, a longtime chair of NKF’s Patient and Family Council and leading advocate for patient-centered care and empowerment. It is the highest honor given by NKF to a distinguished kidney patient who exemplifies the foundation’s mission and Lee’s legacy of putting patients at the center of all aspects of healthcare through their involvement with NKF and community partners.
This year’s recipient is Mary Baliker, a Wisconsin kidney patient and transplant recipient who has been a dedicated volunteer with the National Kidney Foundation.
Mary was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at age 9 and has experienced dialysis and four kidney transplants, including receiving a kidney from her brother at age 17.
“My own illness inspired me to become a fierce healthcare advocate,” Mary said. “I’ve served in this role all of my adult life and have been grateful for the opportunity every day."
Professionally, she has been working in the healthcare field for 30 years, including working as an organ procurement coordinator and clinical research transplant coordinator. Today, Mary works as a healthcare consultant at Baliker Healthcare in Middleton, WI. She is also an inspirational speaker who focuses on educating and informing attendees with stories of her personal journey.
“Mary decided to use her lifelong battle with chronic kidney disease as a catalyst to inspire others and in her words, become a fierce advocate for kidney patients,” said NKF President Dr. Holly Kramer. “Not only does the National Kidney Foundation owe her a debt, but so too do the millions of kidney patients in our country today. It is an honor to recognize such exceptional work.”
NKF Spring Clinical Meetings
For the past 27 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held May 8-12 in Boston, MA.
NKF Professional Membership
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease.
Get Involved
Join the NKF network of advocates to make a difference for kidney patients. Influence public policy issues relating to kidney health, organ donation, and transplantation. These efforts require the participation of dedicated volunteers who will make change happen in government and across the nation. Go to https://advocacy.kidney.org/ to learn how to make an impact.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.