Most people are not aware that kidney disease affects 30 million American adults, and millions more are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease in their lifetime. In addition, the number of children affected by kidney disease is equally concerning. The National Kidney Foundation has published these sobering statistics:
- Approximately 18 to 58 out of one million children has kidney disease.
- About 70% of children with kidney disease will develop kidney failure by the time they are 20 years old.
Kelly’s Story: Kidney Cancer, Kidney Disease, and Hope
Kelly has been a key member of the Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF) team for many years, and she is passionate about raising awareness around kidney disease and prevention. Kelly’s passion for kidney disease awareness began when her daughter was diagnosed with kidney cancer. “Hannah was diagnosed with kidney cancer when she was 13 months old. She was a very healthy child; there was no indication that anything was wrong with her. But we noticed that at just a year old, her abdomen was too big to fit in 18-month size baby clothes. Within two weeks of finding the tumor, she had a surgery to remove the cancer, and then went through chemo treatment for seven months.” After surgery and extensive treatment, the cancer was gone, and Kelly and her family thought the ordeal was finally over. But sweet Hannah’s health was thrown another curveball. Just 13 months after her cancer diagnosis, Hannah was diagnosed with kidney disease in her remaining kidney, completely unrelated to her kidney cancer.
Through the help of a kidney donor, Hannah successfully beat kidney disease. Now, at 17, Hannah is doing well. Kelly is now a member of the Kidney Advocacy Committee at the National Kidney Foundation and recently became an Ambassador with the American Association of Kidney Patients. She’s excited about the impact she is able to have on the campaign. “I will be taking my fourth trip with the National Kidney Foundation to Capitol Hill in March to discuss kidney legislation with our representatives.” When we asked Kelly what she wished everyone knew about kidney disease, she told us two things:
- “Once you get kidney disease, you can’t go back. The best thing is to do as much as you can prevent it.” It just takes a simple urine dip test to diagnose kidney disease. “Early detection is key to stopping or slowing down the progression of the disease.”
- “Most people are at risk and don’t even know that they have it [kidney disease].” In fact, one in three American adults are at risk for developing Kidney Disease, and one in nine are estimated to have Chronic Kidney Disease, but most of them don’t know it.
Controlling blood pressure and diabetes are two ways to prevent kidney disease, or keep it from getting worse. It is important to address risk early on when that treatment and/or prevention have the greatest chance of success.
“I would not want anybody else to have to go through what we went through. I feel we went through what did for a reason, and I want to help other people because of our experiences.”