Why I Walk

By Frank W. Maddux, MD, FACP
Chief Medical Officer
Executive Vice President for Clinical and Scientific Affairs
Fresenius Medical Care North America
Executive Champion, Boston NKF Kidney Walk

FRANK MADDUX MD FACP

Creating opportunities to help patients thrive is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role at Fresenius Medical Care North America. It’s also one of the reasons I get so energized to be part of the annual National Kidney Foundation Kidney Walks.

The Kidney Walks are one of the many ways we stand by all patients and their families. Extending ourselves beyond the walls of our clinics and offices—and into the many neighborhoods and communities, we’re proud to be a part of—deepens our understanding of how CKD affects lives and how we as a healthcare company can fight this epidemic on multiple levels.

I’m honored to serve as an executive champion for the Boston NKF Kidney Walk, one of nearly 90 walks across the United States presented by the NKF and sponsored by Fresenius Medical Care. Fresenius Medical Care and NKF share the same passion and commitment to improving the lives of people with kidney disease; in fact, giving back to the community is part of our company’s DNA. Nearly a decade ago, we embarked on our partnership with the National Kidney Foundation knowing that together we would support our goal of improving the quality of life of every patient every day. This year we’ve combined the power of our 67,000-strong employee family, spanning 2,400 dialysis care facilities across the United States, contributing more than $750,000 to fight kidney disease – a pledge that has increased three-fold from 2017.

Fighting an epidemic requires both advocacy and action. With 1 in 7 Americans affected by kidney disease–and with 10 percent of the world’s population affected by CKD, and millions more unaware they have the disease—the amount of kidney-disease focused clinical research is less than what you’d expect for a disease long recognized as a public health condition. By joining patients and their caregivers at walks throughout the country, we help shine a light on CKD to help grow public understanding and awareness around the urgency of this disease.

Getting involved is easy: all it takes is a few clicks and a commitment to walk. Click here to find a Kidney Walk near you and get involved either by joining a team or creating one of your own. If you’re near Boston, please consider joining me for the Boston area Kidney Walk on Sunday, October 14, at North Point Park in Cambridge, MA.

I’m grateful to the NKF and my fellow walkers: medical professionals, patients, their caregivers, their families and the kidney community as a whole. I’m humbled to be part of a community that sets the example for what it means to be patient-centered. We not only stand with kidney disease patients and their families, we walk with them, at their side.

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Kidney Walk, Like the Disease, is a Family Affair

Vedamay Bradford, RN, BHA, MBA
Director of Operations for the West Los Angeles area, Fresenius Kidney Care
Team captain for the Los Angeles Kidney Walk

Vedamay photo blog

Kidney disease doesn’t just affect patients. It affects their entire family. I know. When my dad was diagnosed with kidney disease two and a half years ago, it was an adjustment for all of us. That’s why I’m proud to lead the Fresenius Kidney Care team at the Los Angeles Kidney Walk on October 14, where I’ll be joined by my fiancée, my son, and my sister and her family.

My dad has had high blood pressure for as long as I can remember, and in a family full of medical experts – my mom, sister and I all started our careers as nurses – it was easy for him to think we were being overprotective when we kept repeating that he needed to take care of himself. After all, he didn’t feel any different, so he figured there was nothing to worry about.

Symptoms of kidney disease often go undetected, which is why it’s critical to get screened regularly if you’re at risk. Getting started on an effective treatment plan as soon as possible helps preserve kidney function and may prevent kidney disease or slow its progression.

One day, my dad was unable to urinate. His doctors first thought it was due to his prostate, but when his problems persisted, he was screened for kidney disease and told he needed to start dialysis.

Being a caregiver myself, I can appreciate what families go through when their loved one comes to us for dialysis treatment. Adherence to the kidney diet can be challenging, and in our house, the whole family changed their eating patterns to make this lifestyle transition easier for my dad.

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The Kidney Walks help raise awareness – and most importantly, funds – to help in the fight against kidney disease. There is not enough public awareness and education about how kidney disease can manifest in a person. As I learned with my dad, it can happen to any family.

Thirty 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 has been 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.

I hope you’ll join me.

Kidney Walk National Corporate Partners Make a Difference in the Fight Against Kidney Disease

This spring, National Kidney Foundation welcomed ten National Corporate Partners to the Kidney Walk. What is a corporate partner? A company that supports the Kidney Walk from a national level by rallying employees to participate and by sponsoring multiple Walks throughout the year. These partners have shown up to walk with and for the kidney community, and they have stepped up in many other important and creative ways. Here are a few highlights.

Fresenius Medical Care North America’s Support Starts with Executive Leadership

Fresenius Medical Care North America is the 2018 Kidney Walk National Presenting Sponsor and the largest national team ever! That’s thanks to incredible leadership and support from Fresenius CEO Bill Valle. In this role, Mr. Valle, who is also the inaugural National Corporate Chair for the 2018 Walk season, is rallying the business community to lace up their shoes for their local Kidney Walks. He’s also dedicated to raising important awareness for the fight against kidney disease.

Bill Valle teamed up with NKF’s CEO, Kevin Longino, to film a video series about many important topics, including kidney disease and transplantation, what it means to be a corporate partner and a special message to all FMCNA employees to get them excited and proud to walk. Watch two of the videos here:

Relypsa’s Commitment to Kidney Patients Reaches New Heights – and Countries

2018 is Relypsa’s second year as a Kidney Walk National Partner, and their team has already surpassed their 2017 fundraising total! Relypsa’s leaders continue to deepen their commitment to supporting kidney patients. CEO Scott Garland served as the 2018 Silicon Valley Kidney Walk Chair, and VP of Marketing Todd Ungard led the Walk’s Executive Leadership Committee and has recently joined NKF as a board member in California.

2018 Relypsa Walk Photo 2

Taking it to another level – and continent – Relypsa’s parent company, Vifor Pharma, was so inspired by Relypsa’s National Partnership that they joined in on the fun! Vifor Pharma formed the first international Kidney Walk team at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. 110 staff members gathered for a Kidney Walk-inspired day which included kidney education seminars, a staff lunch and, of course, a walk.

Team Zurich

LogistiCare’s Focus on Volunteerism

LogistiCare is a longtime Kidney Walk National Team but that hasn’t stopped them from upping their game! In 2018, LogistiCare became a National Multi-Market Sponsor, too. They kicked off their efforts by hosting the first official LogistiCare Service Day at their corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, that included an NKF Drive for Dialysis program. LogistiCare employees came together to assemble care packages for dialysis patients to brighten their spirits and make the long hours of treatment a little more bearable. More than 500 care packages were handed out at local dialysis centers. What a fantastic way to kick off another great year of partnership!

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The stories of our National Partners’ dedication and creativity are endless. We are grateful for their continued support for improving the lives of kidney patients in their local communities. Thank you!

If your company is interested in learning more about Kidney Walk National Partnership opportunities, please reach out to Krystn Kuckelman at krystn.kuckelman@kidney.org.

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.”

Satellite at the Kidney Walk

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.

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!