The American Association of Kidney Patients Mourns Passing of Board Member Kathe LeBeau
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) today announced with great sadness the passing of Board member Kathe LeBeau.
Mrs. LeBeau, in addition to her leadership of AAKP, had a long history of patient advocacy including working with the Renal Support Network, Home Dialysis United and the National Kidney Foundation. Kathe worked as a patient educator for the Northeast Kidney Foundation. The Foundation provides patient education, support and assistance, as well as professional development and research support for renal professionals.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Kathe,” said AAKP President Sam Pederson. “Kathe was a valued member of our Board of Directors and trusted counselor. Her wit, wisdom and contributions to the success of our organization will be missed. My deepest condolences go out to her family.”
Doctors diagnosed LeBeau, 54 years old, with kidney disease right before her 50thbirthday. From the very beginning of her disease process, she was determined not to let the disease take over her life. She chose home hemodialysis as her modality treatment which allowed her to get back to work, travel and spend time with her family and friends. She also became a staunch kidney patient advocate. She was to lead kidney month events at the New York State House just before her death and visit Congressional offices next week in Washington, DC. Her passing was unexpected and was not renal related.
LeBeau was the kind of person that tried to live her best life possible every day. After her diagnosis, she fulfilled a childhood dream and graduated from clown school. In an interview with Huffington Post, LeBeau said she knew she only had a limited time on this earth and she wanted to make the best of it while she was here. “Don’t let one day get too far away from you,” she said passionately. “That’s the other piece of why I started clowning… I really had no idea how much life I was looking at. We all take for granted the fact that we have endless amounts of days. Make sure that you’re doing the things that are important, that you’ve always wanted to do. That sort of crystalized it for me. You just don’t waste time.”
Per LeBeau’s request, there will not be a wake or funeral service. Her organs and tissues were donated. She will be cremated and her ashes spread on the coast of Maine. We all join her husband Loren, in mourning the passing of a tireless advocate for patients, a great Board member, and a friend.
AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for 45 years, has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of kidney patients through education, advocacy and the fostering of patient communities. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.