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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