Cari Maxwell

The Celeste Lee Award

Kidney Advocacy Committee

National Kidney Foundation


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Cari was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in 1989. Through healthy living and choices, she managed her disease on her own for many years following the example of her father, who experienced ESRD in the early 1980s. A registered organ donor provided a near-perfect matching kidney to him and that gift of life granted Cari and her family 31 additional years with him before he passed away in October of 2018.


Advancements in treatment for PKD patients are very close to Cari’s heart, not only for herself but also for her other two siblings and oldest child that are diagnosed with ADPKD and for the likelihood that her two younger children may also be one day. She was fortunate to be able to participate in the clinical trial for the first-ever FDA-approved treatment for PKD — a treatment she still benefits from today.


Cari is a member of the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Advocacy Committee, and she champions patient education, early detection, and scientific advancement through patient-oriented clinical research. She hopes that through her commitment to the awareness of chronic kidney diseases, others will take an active role in their health journey through early detection, healthy choices, and becoming a strong voice of advocacy for themselves and others.


Past Celeste Lee Castillo Patient Engagement Award Recipients

  • 2021: Curtis Warfield
  • 2020: Erich Ditschman
  • 2019: Mary Baliker
  • 2018: Risa Simon
  • 2017: Derek L. Forfang