National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk Facilitates Community, Outreach Efforts in Wichita

By Sarah Gooding
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Specialty: 

The annual Kidney Walk brings patients, families, physicians, medical staff and the greater Wichita community together.

Top fundraisers from the 2015 Walk, from left: Rob Hartman, Mary Hartman, Cheryl Casamento, JJ Hayes and Susan Schneider

The event helps raise awareness of chronic kidney disease, offer support and community to those who have been affected, and raise funds.

Organizers of the walk, which is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Newman University in Wichita, anticipate its continued growth as it enters its third year in Kansas, in part through the efforts of Wichita’s Kansas Nephrology Physicians (KNP).

“Three years ago, one of the new physicians to our practice was surprised that the NKF did not have a local presence in Wichita,” says Kim Fowler, Business Manager for Kansas Nephrology Physicians. “He reached out to the Kansas City NKF group and asked them to discuss the possibility of the NKF becoming more involved in the Wichita community. Needless to say, since that moment we have been involved.”

“There are people from all walks of life in the kidney world who participate. We have folks who have just received an early diagnosis, individuals who have been on long-term dialysis, transplant recipients, donors and medical professionals.”
— Tori Snowden

Tori Snowden, Development Director for NKF’s regional office, says the walk is an opportunity for those impacted by kidney disease to connect with each other, share their stories and celebrate, as well as raise funds.

“There are people from all walks of life in the kidney world who participate,” Snowden says. “We have folks who have just received an early diagnosis, individuals who have been on long-term dialysis, transplant recipients, donors and medical professionals.”

The individuals are encouraged to build teams of family, friends and co-workers to raise funds for the event, which in turn supports NKF outreach efforts such as educational events, care hotlines for those facing dialysis and treatments, professional education opportunities and screening events, such as a KEEP Healthy event that took place in Wichita last March.

“We were able to do a kidney screening for more than 100 individuals,” Snowden says. “We go through a screening process, which includes a brief health-history survey, BMI assessment and blood pressure check. If the individual is found to have risk factors, he or she is also eligible to take a urinalysis. In addition, all participants have the opportunity to speak with a clinician at the end to discuss their risk and next steps.”

Results are then provided so the individual can take the information back to his or her primary care provider for further evaluation and treatment.

Additionally, the NKF provides services such as support hotlines, peer mentoring and more that Fowler says benefit KNP’s patients.

“Many of our patients need the support of the NKF along with the educational programs it provides,” she says. “The NKF staff are great to work with, and we have enjoyed growing this program together in an effort to bring patient services to our community.


Sidney the Kidney with several of last year’s walk participants

“KNP has wonderful, caring staff who look forward to our fundraising efforts every year,” Fowler adds. “KNP has staff members who have dedicated their entire careers to helping patients with kidney disease, and the NKF walk is a fun way for our staff and patients to interact with each other in a less formal setting.”