Walk for Kidneys Team Spotlight: Chicago Kidneys
June 11, 2016
Chicago Kidneys: In Honor of Kelly Sappington
When Kelly first experienced flu-like symptoms in high school, she assumed that she was just coming down with the common cold. Despite feeling more lethargic in retrospect, the notion that she might be suffering from kidney disease never crossed her mind. However, to her surprise, her tests in the emergency room revealed hypertension (high blood pressure), and that both of her kidneys were failing.
Every fourteen minutes, someone is added to the kidney transplant waiting list. In Kelly Sappington’s case, she was added twice. Fortunately for Kelly, her mom and uncle were both matches and made the selfless decision to donate their kidneys to Kelly, first her mom in 1996 and then her uncle in 2004.
As a Team Captain of Chicago Kidneys, Kelly will participate in the 2016 Walk for Kidneys on June 25th for the third year in a row. So far, Kelly and her team have surpassed their goal of $500, raising over $1,200, and they will continue to raise money until the day of the walk.
When asked why she participates in Walk for Kidneys, Kelly stated, “It is really nice to engage in an event where everyone has something in common. It’s amazing how many people kidney disease affects. Participating in an event like this is a really touching experience.”
The first year Kelly participated in Walk for Kidneys, she coincidently ran into her sorority sister from college who had also undergone a kidney transplant. Through her participation in Walk for Kidneys, Kelly has gotten to know many people who have been through similar situations as her, affirming the fact that she is not alone.
“The one thing that I have learned over my experience with kidney disease is not be ashamed of my story. When I was a teenager diagnosed with kidney disease, I didn’t want to tell anyone or stand out,” Kelly asserted confidently. “As I have become more comfortable with sharing my story, I have met so many people who have gone through the same situations. It [Walk for Kidneys] is a great opportunity to educate yourself and others about health issues. Embrace yourself and who you are. It is not something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.”
About the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for and affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment.