Kidney Walk T-Shirt Quilt Tells a Story

Keepsake Theme Quilts created a custom Kidney Walk T-shirt quilt for Paulette Burks, development manager with the National Kidney Foundation serving Central Ohio. 

Paulette Burks

Paulette Burks

My Kidney Walk T-shirt Quilt tells a story centered around my three heroes: William Diggs (Grandfather), David Anderson (Uncle), & Dr. Samuel Collier Sr. (My Boyfriend’s Father). Each of their journeys is different but all of them have two common factors: chronic kidney disease & me!

I first joined the NKF family as an intern in the Cincinnati office in September 2012. As you can imagine I was overly excited to work for an organization whose mission was my passion. My grandfather was on dialysis most of my life and passed away from CKD when I was 12. Three years later my uncle was told he was in renal failure and needed to begin dialysis immediately. By the time I was an intern my uncle had been on dialysis for 7 years. I knew what CKD was and its effects on my family but I wanted to learn more.  My time as a development intern provided me the opportunity to gain more knowledge on this disease and I will forever be grateful.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remain an intern forever so I began my search for a position with the National Kidney Foundation! I didn’t find any opportunities with NKF by the time I graduated so I ended up taking a for profit position.  BUT in September 2014 I was offered a temporary position as a Program Assistant in the Columbus, OH office! I wanted to work for NKF so bad that I risked everything by leaving a full time permanent position just to be with the organization I loved.  A few months later I met my boyfriend at a holiday party! He asked me what I did for a living and of course I went on a rant about NKF and how important it was to me. He smiled and said ironically my father is in renal failure tell me more. Since that day we’ve been inseparable all thanks to a little CKD connection.

I’ve had many ups and downs during my time with NKF. I became a permanent employee as a Program Manager who transitioned into a Development Manager. I’ve watched Sam’s dad battle this disease with many complications that have put him in and out of the hospital. Lastly, I was lucky enough to receive a call on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 when my uncle received a kidney!

My quilt represents my journey from a volunteer, intern, and employee of the National Kidney Foundation. It is a daily reminder of the three men I personally advocate on behalf of. I am so happy that Keepsake Theme Quilts were able to bring my vision to life. Keepsake ThemeQuilts has supported NKF with our Cooking with the Stars silent auction and we appreciate their generosity.