Walk for Kidneys Team Spotlight: Kidney4Clayton

June 17, 2015

Kidney4Clayton: In Honor of Clayton Ruth

Leslie Ruth, team captain of Kidney4Clayton, was looking for a walk in Chicago to support the fight against kidney disease when she found the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’s annual Walk for Kidneys. Why did Leslie create Kidney4Clayton? “The walk gives us a way to help others,” Leslie says.

In 2009, Leslie’s son, Clayton, was diagnosed with kidney failure. Clayton was 19 and away at college when he began getting sick. When he met with doctors, he and his family learned he had already lost 60% of his kidney function. Sometimes deemed a ‘silent killer’, Clayton did not notice any of the symptoms of kidney disease until it was too late. A year later, Clayton found a living donor in a close friend, and received the gift of life in his new kidney.

Then, Clayton began experiencing rejection of his new kidney in 2013, which started a string of trips to the emergency room. “We had countless ER trips and countless surgeries, and we almost lost him last March,” Leslie mentions. Clayton had an allergic reaction to his blood pressure medicine, which put him in an induced coma for ten days. Through this, Clayton and family learned he had heart failure. He recently underwent chemo-dialysis.

Today, Clayton is doing better, and he’s currently waiting on the national transplant list for another new kidney. However, Clayton’s high PRA levels limit his chance of getting a kidney donor. Panel reactive antibody (PRA) measures the antihuman antibodies in blood. High PRA levels are scored from 0 to 99 percent and represent the chance a person’s blood contains antibodies that reject organs from a possible donor. 

“One of the most difficult things about living with kidney disease is knowing you need an organ. It’s a tough position to be in because you need a life saver,” Leslie mentions about Clayton waiting on the transplant list.

“My big thing is to promote early detection, even in kids,” Leslie states. “Everyone can be affected [by kidney disease]. It does not discriminate.”

Leslie’s goal is to promote education of kidney disease and all of its complications that often don’t get recognition. “There are more deaths from kidney disease than breast or prostate cancer. We need to get the word out there about kidney disease’s impact,” she says.

Kidney4Clayton will participate in Walk for Kidneys for the first time on Sunday, June 21 at Soldier Field. The team has raised more than $3,300 since mid-May, and its momentum continues to grow.

To make a donation or read more about Kidney4Clayton’s Walk for Kidneys team, click here. To register your own Walk for Kidneys team, visit www.nkfi.org/events/walk.

About the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for or affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment.