The AKF is a non-profit organization that is a source of treatment-related financial assistance to kidney patients.
The Hope Affair gala was held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue, and was attended 400 guests from across the renal community, the business community, and Capitol Hill.
“We are grateful to everyone who joined us for this remarkable evening,” said John P. Butler, President, Personalized Genetic Health at Genzyme, who served as Event Chair. “The cost and impact of chronic health conditions is a top concern of the public and policymakers, and I am so pleased at how The Hope Affair helped to focus attention on chronic kidney disease while also raising vital funds.”
The American Kidney Fund presented its Excellence in Leadership Award to Kent J. Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita Inc., for his achievements in uniting the renal community around issues of critical importance to patient care.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by a special organization like the American Kidney Fund,” said Thiry. “I recognize, however, that I am accepting it on behalf of my 34,000 DaVita teammates, as they have made any good work possible.”
Two lawmakers were recognized for their efforts to advance legislation that would improve the quality of care for kidney patients.
“The progress this country has made over the past two decades in treating patients with diabetes and kidney disease has been extraordinary," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who received the Kidney Patient Leadership Award. "Moving forward, we must maintain the advances in quality of care that kidney disease patients have experienced, while at the same time developing solutions to make this care more affordable. This has been my goal in Congress, and I believe we are on the right path to achieve it."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) received the Kidney Patient Advocate Award. “I am deeply honored to receive the Kidney Patient Advocate Award, but I believe it really belongs to the millions of Americans who suffer from kidney disease and have taken a stand to make their voices heard,” said Rogers. “My goal in supporting many initiatives in Congress that will make a difference in the lives of kidney patients is to provide better access to prevention and treatment services and common-sense federal reimbursement for critical kidney drugs.”
The evening’s keynote speaker was Jane Brody, bestselling author and Personal Health columnist for The New York Times, who spoke about people who are living with optimism in the face of chronic disease. John Palmer, veteran correspondent and anchor for NBC News, served as emcee.
The emotional highlight of the event was a tribute to four people with chronic kidney disease who are overcoming illness to make a difference in their communities. These individuals—Beverly Schroeder of Edenton, NC; Ronnie Glasper of Monroe, LA; Donald Jackson of Capitol Heights, MD; and the Rev. Oliver Johnson of Washington, DC—received the American Kidney Fund’s Hero of Hope Award.
Also highlighting the event was a musical performance by Chicago jazz singer Felena Bunn, who is on dialysis.
At a reception during the event, the American Kidney Fund recognized two organizations with which it has formed partnerships: NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2010; and national sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. (AKA). Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director of NIDDK, and Carolyn House Stewart, International President of AKA, spoke at the reception.
“Our theme for The Hope Affair this year was ‘Celebrating Inspiration,’ and on Tuesday night, we did just that,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund. “We are grateful to all of our remarkable honorees, and we are extremely appreciative of our friends nationwide who joined us to make this such a successful event.”
All proceeds from The Hope Affair directly support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund. Genzyme and DaVita Inc. were Platinum level sponsors for The Hope Affair. Fresenius Medical Care North America was the Diamond level sponsor. Amgen was the Gold level sponsor.
Complete details and photos from the event can be found at www.thehopeaffair.org.