Why I Walk – Joe Turk, Boston Kidney Walk Executive Champion

Photography_Headshot_Joe Turk_2

My career in kidney care began almost 20 years ago. I joined a startup called NxStage Medical as one of the earliest members of the team. I was excited about the opportunity to do great things for patients and to do our part to change the world. Nineteen years later, NxStage merged with Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), making home dialysis more widely available to people across the U.S. and the world.

Boston is a hub of medical innovation, but to me, NxStage and its focus on home dialysis was special even in this arena. While dialysis had up to that point undoubtedly saved lives, there was so much room to improve health and quality of life to allow a person to live the life they might have imagined for themselves before needing dialysis treatment.

I soon found I was driven by the desire to make the greatest difference I could in the lives of the people who inspired me to come to work every day: our patients. Home dialysis, enabling people to take control of their own care in a familiar setting, turned out to be the way forward. I see it in the faces of our patients who go home with the NxStage machine. Suddenly, they feel motivated, empowered, and ready to take on challenges that they may have written off as impossible.

There are nearly half a million people in the U.S. on dialysis treatment. At FMCNA, we have the opportunity to work with hundreds of thousands of people living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). More than 25,000 of our patients are able to administer their dialysis at home, and that figure continues to grow as our company works to educate patients, physicians, and the general public about the difference that home dialysis can make for patients’ health and quality of life.

Each year that I have walked at the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk, I have felt the power of being surrounded by people who have imagined more for themselves. I enjoy seeing them share their stories and all of the things they have been able to do and the places they have been able to go. It is seeing these individuals thriving with kidney disease and raising awareness that has continued to inspire me to return to work on Monday ready to tackle fresh tasks, find new answers to old challenges, and see a different future for CKD treatment.

When people say ‘You gave me my life back,’ it never gets old, whether it be when we first started with our clinical trial patients or the notes and calls that still come in to this day.

This year I am honored to be the Executive Champion for the Boston Kidney Walk, to be surrounded by the people who have inspired me for 20 years to push myself in a career that has brought me so much joy, knowing that each time my team experiences a success, our patients do too.


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