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President’s Message from aakpRENALIFE Jan/Feb 2018 (Posted Jan. 25, 2018)

To our Members and Allies: Welcome to 2018!

End of 2017

As 2017 came to an end, my very good friend and AAKP Vice President Richard Knight and I shared a unique and deeply emotional honor as AAKP patient advocates, former dialysis patients and as long-time kidney transplant recipients. Together, we were awarded one of the highest honors in the kidney profession – the President’s Medal from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). ASN honored both us and AAKP for successfully executing a national strategy to increase public awareness of kidney disease and to advance policy and legislation in Washington, D.C. designed to put more patients at the policy decision table, speed up clinical trials and spur greater investments in kidney research. ASN has been a significant and trusted ally to AAKP over the past several decades and is the world’s largest organization of medical professionals in the field of kidney disease.

As we stood before an international audience of over 5,000 doctors, nurses, social workers, researchers and industry professionals at the 2017 annual ASN meeting in New Orleans, we were both humbled and inspired to receive our medals. The fact that we are alive today is a tribute to those who came before us – patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, drug and device manufacturers – who’s self-less sacrifices and professional contributions made it so we could one day place ourselves in service to our fellow patients and those yet to be diagnosed.

We accepted the award not as “Paul and Richard”, but as AAKP and for all those in the U.S. affected by kidney disease.

Moving into 2018

As AAKP moves into 2018, we continue to work to spur innovation and raise awareness of kidney disease that impacts you, your family and over 40 million other Americans.

AAKP is growing – at the grassroots patient level – and also among caregivers, family members and among allied professionals across the healthcare field and the next generation of disease researchers and experts.

We will continue to achieve our mission through a national strategy that integrates our patient education programs, advocacy activities, patient engagement opportunities and research initiatives. Under our strategy, AAKP has maximized our capacity, expanded our reach and significantly increased our influence.

Today, AAKP is the largest fully independent and majority patient-lead organization in the United States. With your support over the past year, AAKP has made certain that the patient voice is represented at nearly every table and in nearly every national discussion that impacts the current and future care of this community.

We ask that you continue to support our efforts in 2018 by becoming a member, if you are not already. Patient and Family Membership is FREE, so please sign-up on our website. You can also follow our efforts on social media and share our messages with your networks. If you would like to get involved even more deeply, you can also support our efforts through giving a donation, volunteering or becoming an AAKP Field Ambassador. Call AAKP or visit www.aakp.org to find out about these opportunities.

In this issue of RENALIFE

As you review this issue of our magazine, be sure to read the first article in a new Innovator Series – highlighting individuals with the courage and commitment to improve lives. Our cover story on Dr. Vanessa Grubbs, living kidney donor, nephrologist, and true patient advocate is one of inspiration. And finally, I’m pleased to share the dates of AAKP’s National Patient Meeting – previously postponed last Sept. due to Hurricane Irma – are June 8-10, 2018. See the Save the Date in this issue for more information – we look forward to seeing you in Florida!

Paul Conway

AAKP Board President