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National Kidney Month: Help Families Fight for Kidney Health

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Christine and Julian Hernandez

The Trilla Family’s Multigenerational Fight for Kidney Health

The Trilla family has a long history with NKFI, and an even longer battle with kidney disease. Five members of the Trilla family, including Frank’s father John Trilla Sr. and brother John Trilla Jr., have been afflicted by the disease and ultimately received kidney transplants. Two of those life-saving gifts came from Frank’s sister Pam and cousin Dana. The family’s relationship with NKFI began approximately 30 years ago, when Frank recalls attending NKFI’s Gift of Life Gala – “back when I was little Frank” – with his dad, John Sr., who was passionate about raising awareness for kidney health due to his own battle with CKD.

In 2021, Frank unexpectedly began the same battle that his father and brother fought before him. Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frank was notified that his kidney functioning was at 35%. After contracting COVID-19 and surviving his bout with the virus early in the year, Frank’s kidney functioning dropped to 19% and he was informed he would need a kidney transplant. Shortly after learning this in Summer 2021, Frank received a letter from NKFI. Frank took this as a sign – “to pick up the ball where my dad left it” he said – contacted NKFI, and dove head-first into planning and hosting a fundraising event in support of NKFI and the greater kidney community at his family’s car wash business in Westmont.

Through their passion, dedication, and fight to raise awareness for kidney health, the Trilla Family’s King Car Wash for Kidney Health Fundraiser raised over $65,000 in support of the patients, caregivers, and families just like the Trillas that NKFI serves. In the fall of 2022, Frank and his family will return with even more passion and commitment to kidney health as they host the 2nd Annual King Car Wash for Kidney Health Fundraiser on Saturday, October 22.

And on December 22, 2021, at Loyola University Medical Center, Frank received the gift of a kidney transplant – from his own son, Luke – that will continue their journey to kidney health and allow them to create family holiday memories for years to come. When contacted by NKFI the day after his surgery, Frank beamed, “Luke has great kidneys and I get the ‘Gift of Life’ for Christmas.”

Christon Tillman

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