TAMPA, Fla.— John Newmann, PhD, a former president of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), died on August 12, at the age of 70.
A fierce patient advocate, Newmann served as AAKP president between 1981 and 1984.
“Dr. Newmann’s death is a great loss to the kidney community,” said Dr. Eli Friedman, Immediate-Past Chairman of the AAKP Medical Advisory Board and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “Dr. Newmann was once one of the Association’s most active and loyal members, and his contributions to AAKP and the kidney community at large will be long remembered.”
Newmann began dialysis in the 1970s during the time Congress created the Medicare funded End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program. He became a patient advocate for the ESRD population using his own life to inspire fellow patients to take active roles in their health care. In September he would have celebrated 40 years as a renal patient. He was a dialysis patient for 23 years before his daughter Emily donated a kidney to him 17 years ago.
“What is so special about Dr. Newmann is not that he spent nearly four decades as a kidney patient, but the way he lived his life,” said Karen Ryals, AAKP’s Executive Director. “He was a true patient advocate and the kidney community was enriched by his life.”
Newmann often spoke of that one of his most fund memories is when, in the early 1950, his parents took him to see Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars. Louis Armstrong asked Newmann to sit in on piano, briefly replacing Earl “Fatha” Hines.
Newmann leaves behind two daughters, Sara and Emily. His wife of 44 years, Mary, preceded him in death just two weeks prior. He died peacefully in Berkeley, Calif., surrounded by his family and serenaded by Louis Armstrong.
The Newmann family has setup a memorial fund with AAKP and the Louis Armstrong Foundation for those wishing to make a donation in his honor.