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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Becoming a kidney donor was not easy, but in the end, it was all worth it

Calve Milligan at the 2016 Kidney Walk

For Calve Milligan, a LogistiCare employee, watching his mother endure long hours in the dialysis chair was difficult.  “My mother suffered from diabetes most of her adult life. In 2010, her doctor notified her that her kidneys were failing. My brothers and I were incredibly saddened by the news, because kidney failure would mean she would have to receive dialysis treatment at least 3 days a week for 4 hours a day, which can be very a grueling process. Our worst fears had come to life when in August of 2012 my mother’s kidneys completely failed and she had to begin dialysis treatments.

Although I knew my mother would need a kidney donation to no longer need dialysis, I was not mentally prepared to consider myself. We continued to wait for a donor, as no matches came about. I knew my mother secretly had hoped for her children to be able to help her, but she didn’t want to burden us. But the pressure was too much, and she told my brother that she felt like giving up. At that point I thought to myself, there’s no way we should lose our mother without at least being tested to see if we were candidates to donate our kidney.

In early 2015, my brothers and I scheduled a visit to Montefiore Hospital for the 3 of us to be tested. Although, we all were a match, I was the closest match and most mentally ready to go through with the process and the surgery. They ran multiple tests and evaluations to make sure that I was not only physically ready but mentally ready as well. The journey to be a kidney transplant donor was not an easy one, but in the end, it was all worth it to see my mother living her life free of a dialysis schedule.”

Calve joined LogistiCare’s Kidney Walk team and personally raised $5,000 toward the team goal in honor of his mom. The company’s commitment to the National Kidney Foundation and helping people fight kidney disease is rooted in its core mission, to enrich healthcare communities and improve lives. Each year, LogistiCare enables more than 13 million trips to dialysis centers – some 20 percent of the nearly 70 million healthcare trips it manages annually for private, commercial and government-assisted riders.

“All of us at LogistiCare are honored to join the fight against kidney disease and represent the very members we serve across the country,” said Gregg Bryars, senior vice president of operations at LogistiCare, who also serves as the National Captain for Team LogistiCare. “We find that supporting this community and doing something larger than ourselves has created a strong culture of teamwork and service throughout our organization.”

Bryars said 2017 plans include continuing to educate the company’s 4,000 associates and their families about kidney disease, participating in the Kidney Walks across the country and fundraising throughout its fourth year as a corporate supporter.

In 2016, through a national initiative and partnership with NKF, LogistiCare employees fundraised more than $130,000, making them the first National Team to fundraise more than $100,000 for NKF in one year through Kidney Walk events.

Philly’s Native Hip Hop Artist, Freeway, Walks With Purpose

More than 3,500 people took a lifesaving step in the fight against kidney disease by participating in the National Kidney Foundation’s 14th Annual Kidney Walk on October 11th. This year’s Kidney Walk was hosted by former Roc-A-Fella Records artist and Philadelphia native MC, Freeway.

Freeway Ribbon Cutting

“My experience at the 14th Annual Kidney Walk was wonderful and the love I received from the people was breathtaking,” said Freeway. “I feel as though it’s important to educate people on early detection of kidney disease and awareness. I will continue to spread the message and I am looking forward to more events like this.”

Last month, without warning, the 37-year-old State Property MC and North Philadelphia native was diagnosed with kidney failure.

“I had a routine physical with my primary care doctor,” Freeway said. “The next week, I got a call from my doctor who told me to get to the closest emergency room because my kidney levels were off. My kidneys were failing and I didn’t even realize it. I was in tears trying to understand it all.”

Freeway is committed to raising awareness of kidney disease and ensuring Philadelphians stay on top of their kidney health.

Team Freedom Fighters

Team Philadelphia Freedom Fighters

The event, held at the Philadelphia Art Museum raised more than $400,000 to help fund awareness, prevention and treatment programs aimed at bettering the lives of kidney patients, their families and those at risk.

For more information or to participate in a Kidney Walk near you, visit www.kidneywalk.org. To learn more about kidney disease, risk factors and ways to protect your kidneys, visit, www.kidney.org.

The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk. Learn more about kidney disease and the Kidney Walk at www.kidneywalk.org.

View footage from NBC10 of Freeway at the Philadelphia Kidney Walk here: Rapper Freeway Raises Kidney Disease Awareness at Philly Kidney Walk

Kidneys are the coolest!

Kidneys are the coolest! Healthy kidneys clean out toxins, keep blood pressure under control and make strong bones. They also make pee. And who better to sing about the importance of having a pee test than these lovable kidneys? Watch the video and share it with everyone you care about.

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Learn more about urine and kidney health at EverybodyPees.org. Any questions, please contact everybodypees@kidney.org

Life Changing Kidney Donation for Donor and Recipient

r-LI_Chris(Huntington Station, NY) – Receiving a kidney transplant gives those with kidney failure a second chance at life, but you rarely hear how those that donate their kidneys also have their lives forever changed.

Chris M., 38, from Huntington Station, NY, knew his life would go on a different path the moment he heard that his best friend’s kidneys were starting to fail.

“The day he told me he was going to start dialysis, I picked up the phone and called the hospital to see if I could be a donor,” Chris said.

Chris, who has worked as a Hip Hop DJ and On-Air Personality for Sirus XM and groups such as Naughty by Nature, was suddenly thrust into a new world of tests, physicals, nurses and medical jargon. Eventually, it was determined that Chris was a perfect match for his friend. Nine months after his first call to the hospital, Chris donated his kidney.

“I was the only person to get tested and I was a match,” Chris said. “The thing I remember most happened just before the surgery; I met a man who had been waiting four years for a kidney. He had tested with six family members and 20 other people and no one was ever a match. That made me realize how lucky we were. “

The ability to give his friend a new life profoundly changed Chris’ own outlook. He started volunteering with the National Kidney Foundation to talk with potential donors and recipients about living donation. He also started school again hoping to become a nurse.

“It has made me see things differently. I feel like I can do more,” Chris said. “I feel I have a type of compassion that I can share in a meaningful way with people.”

As part of his outreach efforts, Chris shares his story with hundreds who attend the Long Island Kidney Walk.

“I enjoy walks because it’s important to let people know about living donation,” Chris said. “It’s a beautiful thing, you just have to find the courage to do it.”

 

Alli’s Army is walking…are you?

Written by Alli, a 2014 National Kidney Walk Ambassador

Hi everyone! I hope your summer is going just as well as mine. As kidney walk season approaches, I want to remind you to sign up for your local kidney walk! As your National Ambassador, I will be participating and talking at the 2014 NYC Kidney Walk on November 9th.  If you would like to join my team visit http://www.KidneyWalk.org and search for ALLI’S ARMY.

Moreover, as summer is already half way over and we are approaching the hottest month of the year, don’t forget to drink tons of water and keep up with your diet! I have been feeling great and have kept up with my diet and exercise, so remember follow your doctor’s orders because they truly are life savors in the situation we are all in. Next time, I will be talking about back to school de-stressors (as I will finally be a SENIOR) that you can do to help your children with their chronic medical conditions.  If you would like to contact me please post here and have a great rest of your summer!

Meet Danny…

Written by Danny, a 2014 Kidney Walk National Ambassador. 

 IMG_1298I’m Daniel, twelve years old, born in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and I have Chronic Kidney Disease.

Even before I was born, the doctors saw a potential problem with my right kidney during a routine ultrasound. My mom had to have a lot of ultrasounds so the doctors could keep an eye on things. Right after I was born, the doctors checked me out, did an ultrasound on me, and gave me the all clear. Everyone thought I was healthy and had two normal kidneys. That lasted for seven weeks.IMG_1330

It turns out that the tube extending from my right kidney to my bladder was bent – really bent. Tied up in knots kind of bent. As a result, my right kidney didn’t work at all and the damage had an effect on my left kidney as well. My left kidney is just too small to do all the work it is going to need to do to keep me healthy as I grow. I have to keep a habit of drinking more than the average amount of water per day, and I go to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital for blood draws and clinic visits every few months. I also get an injection every evening of growth hormones so that I will grow like other kids. I know that I am going to need a new kidney one day but my parents are making sure that I get to have a normal childhood – I even went to sleep away camp for an entire month! The nurses took great care of me and, except for the contact sports I got to participate in all the activities.

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Shortly after the diagnosis, my mother learned of the National Kidney Foundation, and its local branch, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. I have taken part in the Detroit Kidney Walk since the age of three but only began fundraising outside of my immediate family three years ago – my parents thought it was importan t that I understand the value of money before asking others to donate. In the last few years my family, friends, and even strangers have helped me raise over $25,000 to help kids and adults like me everywhere.

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Stay tuned in for more blog posts written by Danny throughout the the year.P1000251