By Bill Hahn, Kidney Advocacy Committee member and kidney transplant recipient
On Saturday May 12th, 2018, the National Kidney Foundation of Florida (NKFF) held its 7th Annual Cocoa Beach Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk. Congressman Bill Posey, our honorary walk chair, and State Senator Debbie Mayfield joined hundreds of patients, donors, recipients and volunteers to celebrate the gift of life though organ, tissue and eye donation.
“Raising awareness is a key component to combating kidney disease and ultimately saving lives. So many of us have family, friends and loved ones who are fighting this disease and they need our strength and support. The road ahead may not be easy for them, but as the Kidney Walk demonstrates, they do not have to travel that path alone.” said Congressman Bill Posey.
As part of our “Celebration of Life” weekend, we saluted Florida’s living kidney donors with a Living Kidney Donor Day proclamation. This was our second annual tribute to these selfless heroes who share the gift of life. Living kidney donation is the most successful treatment we currently have in extended life and providing the chronically ill a better quality of life.
We also took the opportunity to advocate for protecting our living kidney donors through the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270). The Living Donor Protection Act is a common-sense bill that will make it easier for donors to give the gift of life to those in need by ensuring job security through the Family and Medical Leave Act and ending certain forms of insurance discrimination that living donors often face. Sometimes making small changes in the law can make a big difference in people’s lives!
The Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk also honored deceased donors’ moms on Mother’s Day weekend. We dined and walked together on a beach full of life. We celebrated our heroes. Congressman Posey presented a Congressional Certificate of Recognition to honor the mothers of organ donors. He also submitted a Congressional Record statement to celebrate these donor moms and the ultimate gift of life provided by their child. Thank you, Congressman Posey, for providing this congressional tribute for our donor moms. Many of these incredible women have been advocating for the gift of life for decades and this act will help give them a measure of closure for their loss.
What will you do to honor our kidney donors? Volunteer and support the National Kidney Foundation at an upcoming event? Become an advocate by writing your legislators on important policy initiatives supporting kidney patients and donors?
See our video of the 2018 Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk: