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Kidney Community Symposium: Coming together to combat misinformation

More than 100 people gathered early this month to learn about home dialysis treatment, living organ donation and other important topics for the renal community at the annual Kidney Community Symposium in Portland, Oregon.

Hosted by the National Kidney Foundation at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, the event brought together patients, health care providers and patient advocacy organizations for a day of education and inspiration.

With an increased national focus on providing kidney dialysis treatment to patients on their own schedules and in their own homes, patients are increasingly wondering about the benefits and obstacles of home dialysis. Barbara Dommert-Breckler, RN, BSN, CNN, led an educational session focused on clearing up common myths around home therapies. Below is an infographic that may help you filter through some of the misunderstandings.

National Kidney Foundation leader Kevin Longino – a transplant recipient himself – spoke about the national Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative. A panel discussion also gave attendees a chance to hear from living organ donors and recipients of living organ donation.

During this discussion, many patients shared that one of the most challenging aspects of the transplantation process occurred even before a kidney donor was obtained, it was feeling confident enough to make the “Big Ask” for a kidney. This sentiment was not unique and was shared among many in the audience.

A prospective kidney donor noted that one of the most difficult barriers faced in donating one of their kidneys was the pushback they received from friends and family.

Both patients and advocates shared that, many times, these concerns come from a place of immense care for the individual, as living organ donation is an elective surgery. However, these types of questions are typically resolved when people learn about the positive lived experiences of living donors and the dire need for donated kidneys to save lives.

The panel discussion illustrated the incredible variety of people who step up for living donation and the many ways they connect. From a brother and sister, to complete strangers who found each other on social media, living organ donors can truly come in all ages, shapes and sizes, from your own home to far away.


If you were unable to attend the Kidney Community Symposium in Portland, Oregon there will be another event in Seattle, Washington on April 25, 2020. Visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website to learn more.

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