FDNY Paramedic Saves Lives While Fighting Kidney Disease

r-paramedicVictor Potito, 36 of Flushing, is one of the thousands who attended the New York City Kidney Walk in October 2012. Potito has been a paramedic with the FDNY for 16 years. He worked at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and trains EMTs at Queensborough Community College.

 “He’s my hero,” said Ana Vivanco, who just married Victor in August 2012.

While Victor has dedicated his life to serving those in need of urgent medical care, he also has to care for himself. Victor has polycystic kidney disease, and will at some point need to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant. Victor has known about his condition since he was 23, and has been able to slow the decline of his kidney function through healthy habits, weight loss and a careful diet.

“The best thing I can say is, go to your doctor and stay on top of your health s,” he said. “Sooner or later, it ends up getting the best of you and if you take care of it now it, you may  lead a longer life.”

Ana is hoping that her new husband will be able to continue his important work saving lives in New York City, despite the hard road ahead. To spread awareness and build a support network, they are getting involved with the National Kidney Foundation, and participated in the Kidney Walk, along with thousands of others who are fighting kidney disease, including Nick Cannon, entertainer and host of America’s Got Talent.

“I walk because I want him around until he’s 95,” Ana said.”But PKD does progress and leads to kidney failure. So raising awareness about kidney disease and the need for organ donation is very important to me and our family.”

Spring 2013 Kidney Walks are ready to go!

Team Captain CenterIt’s getting cold outside, but we are already thinking ahead to Spring and Kidney Walk.  It’s never too early to get registered for the Kidney Walk near you and many of our Spring 2013 walks are already live at KidneyWalk.org.  See below for the list of walks you can expect to find when you visit our site.

  • 03/23/13       Fort Worth Walk                      Fort Worth, TX
  • 04/13/13       Austin Walk                             Austin, TX
  • 04/14/13       Triad Kidney Walk                   Kernersville, NC
  • 04/14/13       Southern Deleware Walk        Lewes, DE
  • 04/14/13       Houston Walk                         Houston, TX
  • 04/14/13       Knoxville Walk                        Knoxville, TN
  • 04/21/13       Northern Virginia Walk           Reston, VA
  • 04/21/13       Upstate Walk                          Greenville, SC
  • 04/23/13       San Antonio Walk                   San Antonio, TX
  • 04/27/13       Dallas Walk                            Dallas, TX
  • 04/27/13       St. Louis Walk                        St. Louis, MO
  • 04/28/13       Hartford/Springfield Walk       Manchester, CT
  • 04/28/13       San Francisco Walk               San Francisco, CA
  • 04/28/13       Northern New Jersey Walk    Paramus, NJ
  • 05/04/13       Central Iowa Walk                 W Des Moines, IA
  • 05/05/13       San Diego Walk                     San Diego, CA
  • 05/05/13       Long Island Walk                   Hempstead, NY
  • 05/05/13       Omaha Walk                          Omaha, NE
  • 05/11/13       Georgetown Walk                  Washington, DC
  • 05/13/13       Lancaster, PA Walk               Lancaster, PA
  • 05/18/13       Carolinas Walk                      Charlotte, NC
  • 05/18/13       Hampton Roads Walk           Virginia Beach, VA
  • 05/18/13       Watertown Walk                    Watertown, SD
  • 05/18/13       Duluth Walk                           Duluth, MN
  • 05/19/13       Colorado Walk                       Denver, CO
  • 05/19/13       Fairfield County Walk            Westport, CT
  • 05/19/13       Wheeling, WV Walk              Wheeling, WV
  • 05/19/13       Central PA Walk                    York, PA
  • 06/01/13       Fargo, ND Walk                     Fargo, ND
  • 06/02/13       Orange County Walk             Irvine, CA
  • 06/02/13       Cincinnati Walk                      Cincinnati, OH
  • 06/02/13       Central New Jersey Walk      Trenton, NJ
  • 06/08/13       Erie Walk                               Erie, PA
  • 06/08/13       Silicon Valley Walk                San Jose, CA
  • 06/08/13       Atlanta Walk                          Atlanta, GA
  • 06/09/13       Northeast Ohio Walk             Cleveland, OH
  • 06/15/13       Billings, MT Walk                   Billings, MT
  • 06/22/13       Sioux Falls Walk                    Sioux Falls, SD
  • Spring 2013 Portland, OR Walk                 Portland, OR

Also, follow us on Twitter and use our official hashtag #kidneywalk.

Fighting Kidney Disease and Walking for Awareness

r-PinsentLeyla and Brett Pinsent were married less than a year when they hit their first major road bump – kidney disease.

Right before Christmas last year, Leyla started having severe chest pain – it was the first sign of a form of kidney disease called crescentic glomerulonephritis. By the time she was diagnosed, Leyla was close to kidney failure and doctors were cautiously warning that she might need a kidney transplant.

“It’s not something you expect to happen in your first year of marriage,” said Brett. “It makes you understand how precious life is.”

Leyla went through chemotherapy to prevent her body from attacking her damaged kidneys, and then started a process of rebuilding her immune system and kidneys through steroids and transfusions. She narrowly avoided dialysis. Slowly, her kidneys recovered from the brink of failure, an outcome that is not possible for the majority of kidney disease patients.

“I realize that I was extremely lucky,” she said.

Deeply impacted by his wife’s fight, and the other kidney disease patients the Pinsents met during their ordeal, Brett has decided to become an altruistic kidney donor. He will give up his kidney once Leyla has fully recovered and he is assured by doctors that she will not need a transplant herself.

“There were people around us who weren’t as fortunate,” Brett said. “I never realized how prevalent kidney disease is until Leyla got it. When you think of disease, kidneys don’t come to mind, but it is a really big deal.”

While waiting to donate, the Pinsents are getting involved with the National Kidney Foundation, and participating in the Los Angeles Kidney Walk.

This is a good way of making people more aware of kidney disease,” said Leyla. “If it helps someone to get their kidneys checked out, or convinces someone to become an organ donor, it’s worth it.”