“Why me?” Edward Drake, II asked himself when he was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with renal failure at age 20. Then he asked himself “Why not me?” This prompted him to use his negative experience in a positive way—to spread the word that while it is true certain people are at an increased risk, kidney disease can happen to anyone, at any time, and that’s why it’s so important to get checked early.
Edward received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor in October of 2008, and continues to spread the word about organ donation and early detection through his own charity, the YNOTT? Foundation (Youth Needing Organ & Tissue Transplants), and as a field ambassador for the American Association of Kidney Patients. He frequently visits kidney disease and dialysis patients of all ages, especially young ones like him, mentoring and comforting them with his own story and positive outcome. He also advocates for policies that improve the lives and treatments of those with kidney disease and expand patient choices.