Why We Walk – LogistiCare

The fight against kidney disease is something we at LogistiCare take personally.

With 1 in 3 Americans at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) we know that with 4,000 LogistiCare employees nationwide, a large number of our employees and their families will be affected.

In 2017 we provided more than 65 million non-emergency medical trips nationwide – with dialysis patients receiving a large percentage of those trips.

That is why LogistiCare shares a longstanding commitment to the mission to educate, participate, and fundraise with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). Our participation and fundraising allows NKF to accelerate their mission and provide high-quality education, programs, and services to individuals affected by kidney disease. This year, LogistiCare expanded the commitment to provide monetary support and additional benefits to patients suffering from kidney disease by becoming a National Multi-Market sponsor of more than two dozen Kidney Walks. Part of that commitment means donations and fundraising – approximately 2,300 LogistiCare employees raised and donated more than $155,000 in 2017 – and we have a goal to raise $165,000 in 2018.

But it’s much more personal with us.

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As part of our commitment to NKF and those affected by kidney disease, we continuously find ways to educate, participate and fundraise. In late 2017 the Atlanta team conducted its first official LogistiCare Service Day focusing on organizations, doctors, and patients fighting kidney disease. Our CEO, Jeff Felton, kicked off the day speaking of the need for each of us to see beyond the service we provide to our members to understand what they experience on the other side of that service because at LogistiCare every member and every ride matters.

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As a Presenting Sponsor of the NKF Phoenix Kidney Walk on April 8th, our Phoenix team and their families and friends came out on a beautiful day and walked. It was an amazing event. We walked eight laps to complete a 5k inside Chase Stadium.

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Before the walk even started there was so much energy throughout the event. There were all kinds of booths and fun activities for the crowd to engage in.

There were mascots posing with the crowd,

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Zumba exercises to get everyone warmed up and ready to walk,

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teams dressed in matching outfits,

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and best of all, teams of people telling their personal stories of why they walk, including some from our very own. Here are just a few of them:

Brissa Ruiz (Lowe) is a Quality Assurance Specialist in our Phoenix Operations. At age 21 Brissa was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1. Because she was young, like many of us have done, she felt invincible and thought nothing of it. At age 28 that came to an abrupt stop when she had a heart attack due to high blood sugars caused by poor management of her diabetes. She knew she needed to take her health more seriously. She now uses an insulin pump to manage her blood sugars, and she gets tested annually to keep a close watch on her albumin levels and GFR percentage. Kidney disease is a major concern in her life. Brissa believes it’s important to increase awareness, educate friends, family, and others on the important role our kidneys play in our health. This is why Brissa walks.

There are no early detection signs for kidney disease but there are two simple tests you can ask of your doctor: a urine test called ACR “albumin-to-creatinine ratio”, and a blood test to estimate your GFR “glomerular filtration rate.

Kristina Eshenbaugh is a Job Coach in our Phoenix Operations. Kristina’s mom, Janet Eshenbaugh, has been diabetic since Kristina was a kid. Her diabetes had been so bad that Janet had to have both legs amputated. So in 2015, when the family found out that Janet’s diabetes had also impacted her kidneys, they were understandably distraught. Janet has been on dialysis ever since. She travels almost 30 miles one way, three times each week, transferring herself in and out of their truck into her wheelchair to make her dialysis appointments. Janet hopes to qualify to be on the waiting list for a new kidney. Kristina considers her mom her best friend and her hero. This is why Kristina walks.

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney disease. About a third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease.

Lyanna Garcia is a Facilities Coordinator in our Phoenix Operations.  Lyanna has had Type 1 Diabetes since she was eight years old.  Throughout her childhood and teenage years, she was often hospitalized from her illness.  As a teenager she had difficulty accepting her illness and felt it was very unfair, so she was careless with her disease.  But while spending time in the hospital she developed close relationships with some social workers that helped her better understand how important it is for her to take care of her health.  It was a scary time as a child to face such serious issues.  Now as an adult she understands the importance of taking care of her health to better prolong her life.  She realizes that she may one day need a transplant but through education, she is more aware of what is needed and how to go through the process.  Lyanna first learned about the NKF Kidney Walk program when she came to work with LogistiCare and has been participating in the Kidney Walks since 2012.  It’s important to her to bring awareness to young people and their families of the importance of self-care.  This is why Lyanna walks.

Six-step guide to protecting kidney health.

Jason Hoover is a California Claims Specialist in our Phoenix Operations. Hereditary kidney disease has affected Jason since the young age of nine or ten years old. At the time, his disease went undiagnosed. It wasn’t until he was 12, on a 1986 trip to Disneyland with his favorite aunt (Aunt Vikki), that he learned he had kidney disease. And it was just before his 13th birthday, he had his left kidney removed. Jason experienced a lot of pain associated with his kidney disease during his visit with Aunt Vikki. In 2011 at 2:30am his Aunt Vikki donated one of her kidneys to a complete stranger. She said she did it because of what she saw Jason go through that summer in 1986. Jason is proud of his aunt and all the survivors of kidney disease. This is why Jason walks.

Whether you need a kidney or are considering donation, the National Kidney Foundation’s “The Big Ask, The Big Give” can help start the conversation.

Kimberly Vasquez is an Administrative Assistant in our Phoenix Operations. Kim’s nephew, Joey, was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis at only one year old. He spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals, treated with medications and on a special diet to keep his kidneys from failing. When Joey was 13 years old he received a kidney transplant from his mother, Kim’s sister-in-law, Saphiria. Saphiria gave the ultimate gift by becoming a living donor for her son. Early on, because of Joey’s age, all his related medical bills and medications were covered 100%, however as an adult, married with a child, Joey faced many challenges regarding affording insurance to cover the medications he needs to take for the rest of his life. For Kim, involvement with the Kidney Walk started out as a work event but has become so much more to her and her family. Sharing their story opened up doors to resources where Joey is able to receive his medication and assistance with affordable insurance. Kim is compelled to create awareness so that those that have loved ones facing this disease can have hope. This is why Kim walks.

The family shared their experiences with all the walkers and attendees at the National Kidney Foundation Phoenix Kidney Walk on April 8, 2018. Their story was so inspiring it was picked up by Phoenix Fox 10 News and aired throughout the day and early the following morning. The Peoria Times published a story on this incredible family the following week.LogistiCare 10

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These are the reasons we share a commitment with NKF to those with kidney disease and to educate others of the risks of CKD. Not just those personally affected and mentioned here, but all of us at LogistiCare. This is Why We Walk.

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Find your local LogistiCare Walk Team to register or donate.

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Navigating CKD: Life in the driver’s seat

By Kathy Hoyer, Territory Director, Satellite Healthcare

Whether it’s chauffeuring his wife Claudia around their San Jose hometown, or managing his Chronic Kidney disease, John Unger likes to be in control.

That doesn’t necessarily mean he likes to speed; in fact, he is cautious and thoughtful about both. But it’s clear that the 74-year-old isn’t letting health limitations slow him down.

That goes for behind the wheel or on foot. Unger has made it a hobby to participate in National Kidney Foundation fundraising walks almost every year since his diagnosis nearly 20 years ago along with other health awareness walks.

“I don’t even remember the first one I did,” he says of his walks. “It was for a very small organization.” He was accompanied by one of his daughters, Andrea Hensler, adding another aspect to his regimen of good health: He keeps his family involved.

Unger has been on dialysis at Satellite Healthcare since 2015. But even that hasn’t keep him from his beloved walks.

“Last year my nurse made me bring a wheelchair, and she walked with me,” Unger says. “I ended up pushing the wheelchair the whole time.”

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John Unger, Kathy Hoyer and Gilda Jones, along with other team member from Satellite, at last year’s San Jose Kidney Walk

Satellite dialysis nurse and center manager Gilda Jones is Unger’s biggest fan. “He never complains and is a delight to care for,” Jones says.

After Unger was diagnosed with CKD, he put off dialysis as long as he could, controlling his disease with a healthy lifestyle. But back in 2015 it became apparent that he needed dialysis.

“It’s just a part of life,” he says. “I try to stay as positive as I can.”

Jones says that his positive attitude helps in his recovery.

Dialysis has helped, too. “I am much healthier now than I was the year before I started dialysis,” Unger says. “Before I started dialysis I was weak and cold all the time. I knew it was time to take the next step for my health.”

However, he has no plans to take further steps, and has not registered for the national kidney transplant list. “Because I was 72 when I started dialysis, I felt that I should let someone younger get an available kidney.”

It’s a decision he accepts with grace, and his family understands it, especially wife Claudia. Unger says that she is a major positive in his life. A diabetic and neuropathy sufferer, Claudia does not drive, hence Unger’s job of Chief Driving Officer — another reason he has to stay as healthy as possible. Still, he’s the first one to say that Claudia is the sharper of the two, and frequently “wins” in their loving battle of wits.

“She says I better not get Alzheimer’s Disease because quite honestly, she wouldn’t notice,” he jokes.

Another thing that has helped Unger stay positive in his disease is the mentorship of a family friend, Patti Childress, an account supervisor for the Bay Area American Red Cross. “She’s showed me how someone can live a normal life with our disease,” Unger says.

And a normal life means independence, as much as three-day-a-week dialysis provides. That usually means a day-trip, like the one he recently made to Lodi for a meeting of his beloved Freemasons, of which he is a long-time member. “I got in the car around 9 a.m., made it in time for lunch and the meeting, then drove home,” he says. “It was no problem.”

And he is that way about the NKF Kidney Walks he participates in. He says he doesn’t train for them, but in the immortal words of Michael Jordan, “I just do it.” He says he doesn’t walk in the longer distances, but takes on the shorter routes.

The only year he’s bypassed an NKF walk in the past decade was one day when it was 90 degrees outside. “I got there, felt how hot it was, and said, ‘no way!’”

So, assuming the weather behaves, look for Unger this June at the annual San Jose Kidney Walk. He may be pushing a wheelchair, but make no mistake, he’s still in the driver’s seat.

National Multi-Market Sponsor and Team, Relypsa, reflects on a Goal-Breaking 2017 Kidney Walk Season

Robert Taylor, Associate Director, Marketing, Relypsa, Inc; National Kidney Walk Team Captain

RobertSince April of 2017, Relypsa participated in 18 Kidney Walks as a National Multi-Market Sponsor and a National Team. We worked together, fundraised a lot, and had so much fun, all while demonstrating our unending support and dedication to the entire kidney community. Being a part of the Kidney Walk and supporting kidney patients has been a top priority for Relypsa this year and we are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish as ONE RELYPSA.

Throughout the entire year, our coast-to-coast team did our best to stay focused on WHY we walk.

  • WE WALK for the 1 in 3 American adults currently at risk of developing kidney disease.
  • WE WALK for the 1 in 7 American adults who are battling kidney disease.
  • WE WALK for the 13 people who die every day waiting for a kidney transplant.

Time and time again, remembering our WHY has helped our team unite and push past our goals.

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The first target we hit was our Headquarters’ staff goal for the Silicon Valley Kidney Walk. We rallied together and exceeded our $50,000 goal by the walk date last spring.

The second goal we achieved was our National Team Fundraising Goal. After a strong end to our spring season, the fall Kidney Walk teams we up for the challenge of taking us across our finish line: $75,000. To date, we have raised nearly $77,000!

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Supporting the National Kidney Foundation through the Kidney Walk is a wonderful representation of our mission to improve the lives of patients on all levels. Whether we have our own personal connection to kidney disease, or we are allied by the work that we do everyday at Relypsa, the Kidney Walk has been a rewarding experience for each and every Relypsa team member who has walked, donated, fundraised and cheered on Team Relypsa.

We are excited to get started on the 2018 Kidney Walk and look forward to continuing to deepen and develop our partnership with NKF.

Rallying Together to Fight Kidney Disease

Cameron LynchCameron Lynch, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Fresenius Medical Care North America
Corporate Walk Chair, 2017 National Capital Kidney Walk

Type 1 diabetes runs in my family, so I know firsthand how important it is to take care of your health. Not everybody knows that diabetes is a leading driver of kidney disease, and half of new dialysis patients don’t even know they have diabetes, hypertension or other leading contributors to kidney disease. With more education, people can better understand their risk for kidney disease and learn how to take preventative measures to keep themselves healthy. That’s why I’m honored to serve as a corporate walk chair for this year’s Kidney Walk in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14 on behalf of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA). The walk helps raise awareness – and most importantly, funds – to help in the fight against kidney disease.

In my position with Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), I get the chance to interact regularly with our dialysis patients, and I continue to be inspired by their optimism and ability to do the things they love in their daily lives while also managing their treatment schedule. 30 million people in the United States are currently living with chronic kidney disease, and many of them are thriving. The commitment of the National Kidney Foundation to fund research and raise awareness is essential to ensuring the advancement of treatments and improved longevity and quality of life for patients. The more money we raise through walks like these, the more we can help the National Kidney Foundation achieve its mission of improving the lives of people with chronic kidney disease everywhere.

FMCNA began its partnership with the National Kidney Foundation nearly a decade ago for the same reason our employees get out of bed in the morning – to improve the quality of life of every patient every day. This year, FMCNA announced a company-wide national team in support of the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walks, pledging the largest-ever fundraising goal of $250,000. As it turns out, this year it is more important than ever to support the work of the National Kidney Foundation, which will assist dialysis patients impacted by the devastation from the hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. Patients with end stage kidney disease are particularly vulnerable during extended periods of power outages or water shortages. For these patients, missed treatments can mean the difference between life and death. In joining with the National Kidney Foundation, FMCNA is furthering our commitment to addressing the immediate needs to patients in crisis situations, advancing care for patients with kidney disease, and calling attention to how we can prevent kidney disease in the first place.

When we walk in D.C., and in Kidney Walks across the country, each step gets us one step closer to eradicating kidney disease. I’ll be participating not only on behalf of FMCNA and our patients, but also for my family and others who may be at risk for kidney disease. I hope you’ll join me.

Becoming a kidney donor was not easy, but in the end, it was all worth it

Calve Milligan at the 2016 Kidney Walk

For Calve Milligan, a LogistiCare employee, watching his mother endure long hours in the dialysis chair was difficult.  “My mother suffered from diabetes most of her adult life. In 2010, her doctor notified her that her kidneys were failing. My brothers and I were incredibly saddened by the news, because kidney failure would mean she would have to receive dialysis treatment at least 3 days a week for 4 hours a day, which can be very a grueling process. Our worst fears had come to life when in August of 2012 my mother’s kidneys completely failed and she had to begin dialysis treatments.

Although I knew my mother would need a kidney donation to no longer need dialysis, I was not mentally prepared to consider myself. We continued to wait for a donor, as no matches came about. I knew my mother secretly had hoped for her children to be able to help her, but she didn’t want to burden us. But the pressure was too much, and she told my brother that she felt like giving up. At that point I thought to myself, there’s no way we should lose our mother without at least being tested to see if we were candidates to donate our kidney.

In early 2015, my brothers and I scheduled a visit to Montefiore Hospital for the 3 of us to be tested. Although, we all were a match, I was the closest match and most mentally ready to go through with the process and the surgery. They ran multiple tests and evaluations to make sure that I was not only physically ready but mentally ready as well. The journey to be a kidney transplant donor was not an easy one, but in the end, it was all worth it to see my mother living her life free of a dialysis schedule.”

Calve joined LogistiCare’s Kidney Walk team and personally raised $5,000 toward the team goal in honor of his mom. The company’s commitment to the National Kidney Foundation and helping people fight kidney disease is rooted in its core mission, to enrich healthcare communities and improve lives. Each year, LogistiCare enables more than 13 million trips to dialysis centers – some 20 percent of the nearly 70 million healthcare trips it manages annually for private, commercial and government-assisted riders.

“All of us at LogistiCare are honored to join the fight against kidney disease and represent the very members we serve across the country,” said Gregg Bryars, senior vice president of operations at LogistiCare, who also serves as the National Captain for Team LogistiCare. “We find that supporting this community and doing something larger than ourselves has created a strong culture of teamwork and service throughout our organization.”

Bryars said 2017 plans include continuing to educate the company’s 4,000 associates and their families about kidney disease, participating in the Kidney Walks across the country and fundraising throughout its fourth year as a corporate supporter.

In 2016, through a national initiative and partnership with NKF, LogistiCare employees fundraised more than $130,000, making them the first National Team to fundraise more than $100,000 for NKF in one year through Kidney Walk events.

We Walk With You!

Proud Sponsor of NKF

Did you know that Fresenius Vascular Care (FVC) was the first national sponsor of the National Kidney Foundation Walks?

It’s true. Since 2000, we have been a national sponsor of the Kidney Walks and we proudly continue the tradition as a national team in 2016 and beyond. Our sponsorship reflects our company’s long-standing desire to support the NKF’s initiative to help prevent kidney disease, support dialysis patients, and lead the way in treatment and education.

Team FVC- Beyond Sponsorship

Nineteen years, twenty-six teams, eighteen states, and over $90,000 raised by just FVC teams alone.

These numbers describe the commitment that Team FVC (formerly Team American Access Care) has made by supporting the National Kidney Foundation walks across the US. However, our commitment to the Kidney Foundation’s mission goes far beyond numbers.  We created our teams so that we could walk alongside, as well as in support of, our patients living with kidney disease and ESRD.  This is evident year after year when employees from our outpatient vascular centers continue to sign up with enthusiasm and volunteer their time to walk, fundraise, and raise awareness for all things kidney disease related.

At the conclusion of 2016, we will have walked in Florida, New York, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Virginia, and North Carolina.  We’ve covered more than 100 miles and look forward to 100 more!

Come walk with us in 2017!

FVC is excited to be participating in the Kidney Walk again in 2017.  To date, we have donated $476,500 in sponsorship and campaign dollars.  And our employees are very excited, too! Throughout the years FVC employees have demonstrated their generosity with time and donations and we couldn’t be more honored to have them on our team.

We walk for many reasons, not just because it’s tradition.  We walk for our patients suffering from kidney disease and their friends and families. We walk for our own friends and families.  We walk to educate and raise awareness of kidney disease and other related conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and kidney failure. We walk to bring awareness on the importance of keeping your dialysis access healthy.  We walk for you.

Join FVC at the 2017 National Kidney Foundation Walks!

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Who we are

FVC is a leader in freestanding interventional outpatient centers across the United States.  We are a proud affiliate of Fresenius Medical Care North America, the world’s largest provider of dialysis services and products.  We understand the challenges ESRD patients face every day so we are constantly improving how we can best support our patients.

What we do best

Maintaining your dialysis access is our #1 priority!

At FVC, we focus our energy on providing excellent clinical outcomes, with an exceptional patient experience. We are committed to improving the quality of life for our patients. At our centers, you’ll find a team of dialysis access management specialists who are experts in the creation, maintenance, and preservation of dialysis accesses.  You can feel confident that the team safeguarding the health of your dialysis access will result in fewer missed dialysis treatments and lower rates of hospitalization so there is minimal disruption to your normal routine.

Your health is important to us and we’re here to guide you.  We make sure that you understand your condition and the treatments needed to maintain your well-being.  FVC – compassionate care with clinical excellence.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about dialysis access, and what we do, make sure to visit us at http://www.InfoDialysisAccess.com, which is home to a wealth of information related to dialysis access issues, a patient-centered blog, and resources for our patients to help keep their access healthy and improve their quality of life on dialysis.

Also, make sure to look for our booth at the Kidney Walks.  We would love to speak with you and your families!

Working for Kidney Patients Inside and Outside the Lab

For Relypsa, a biotech innovation company based in Redwood, CA, it’s not enough to develop life-saving therapeutics for kidney patients.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of patients on all levels,” said Alex Dobbin, Associate Director of Investor Relations at Relypsa. “Our patient-first focus has translated to our business goals and our community involvement.”

The company and its employees have embraced their patient focus by partnering with, and supporting, the National Kidney Foundation through the Kidney Walk.

As a company, Relypsa has developed the first approved medicine in more than 50 years to treat hyperkalemia, a life-threatening condition common in kidney patients who have or are approaching kidney failure. As a walk team, Relypsa has raised over $66,000 at Kidney Walks across the San Francisco Bay Area over the past two years.

“The Kidney Walk is a great opportunity to come together and help out the community,” Dobbin said.  “It’s a way for us to express the values that make our company and employees unique. We responded by coming together and celebrating the community we’re working for.”

Many employees at Relypsa have personal connections to kidney disease. Paulynn Dorotheo, Director of Consultant Data Management at Relypsa, had a grandfather pass away from kidney disease. Other Relypsa employees have similar connections to kidney disease.

“For many of us, it’s a family disease,” Dorotheo said. “So our participation is personal, and it’s our way of helping others while we’re working to prolong and improve the quality of life for patients.”

In 2014, Relypsa Kidney Walkers raised $14,000. In 2015, the team raised over $38,003. With corporate sponsorship, Relypsa and their employees have raised over $66,000 in two years.

Funds raised by Relypsa have supported public awareness programs, free local kidney health screenings, NKF advocacy efforts and medical education for professionals across the country.

“The Kidney Walk is a special event for us because it brings us back to our mission,” Dobbin said. “We’re a purpose-led team, and Kidney Walks give us the chance to honor the patients we aim to serve and the values which bring us together.”

Relypsa Kidney Walkers

Relypsa Kidney Walkers