Congressman Bill Posey To Launch Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk

By  //  May 8, 2012

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BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Congressman Bill Posey will be among the early-birds to help start this weekend’s 5K Cocoa Beach Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Florida as a tribute to organ donation and transplant patients.

Congressman Bill Posey will help launch the 5K Kidney Beach Walk sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Florida at the Cocoa Beach Pier on Saturday. (Image courtesy of the Office of Congressman Bill Posey)

The walk – that coincides with Mothers’ Day Weekend – will take place at 9:00am on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Cocoa Beach Pier. The day’s activities will begin with a “Circle of Life” paddle-out in the morning at sunrise – and conclude with a “Sand Castles of Hope” contest for kids.

Congressman Posey is a member of the Congressional Kidney Caucus and Diabetes Caucus.  “One of the many challenges that organ transplant recipients face is the high cost of immuno-suppressive medications that help the body adjust to new donor organs,” said Posey.

“Currently, Medicare covers the cost of kidney transplant surgeries – but only temporarily covers the cost of the medications needed to prevent rejection,” he said. “After three years, coverage is cancelled. I’ve co-sponsored legislation to fix this problem (H.R. 2969), which will ultimately save lives and Medicare resources over time.”

The Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk is being supported by Richard Salick, the NKF Director of Communities Relations in Florida.  “This event will just solidify the contribution and commitment the NKF and the State of Florida makes to saving lives,” said Salick.

“Congressmen Posey’s support of this cause makes him the perfect candidate to kick-off what is sure to become a tradition.”

Billy Hahn is a kidney transplantee who has organised the Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk for this Saturday, May 12 - starting from Cocoa Beach Pier with a paddle-out at sunrise (image courtesy of Billy Hahn)

It’s hoped that news of the Cocoa Beach Footprints in the Sand Kidney Beach Walk fund-raising event will now spread throughout the county and that thousands of people will gather at the Cocoa Beach Pier to walk the sands starting with the sunrise gathering.

This fun, caring event is being organised by former local professional surfer Billy Hahn, whose own life was saved by a kidney transplant. He now wants to give other kidney sufferers fresh hope of a better life free of dialysis.

It embraces a wonderful story of survival for Billy Hahn, who now wants to provide hope for the 113,000 people in the US waiting for kidney transplants.

Billy Hahn and Rich Salick have been working together for many years to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. Billy Hahn surfed for Rich and Phil Salick on one of the original Salick Surf Teams back in the 80’s. That’s when the Salick brothers became his mentors and taught him the ways of the waves.

Then suddenly, at the age of 26, Billy was diagnosed with type1 diabetes and his life changed drastically. He suffered blindness, coma and seizures. Then, in March 2008, his kidneys failed and he went on to dialysis to stay alive.

But thanks to a kidney donor, he received the gift of a new life on New Year’s Eve, 2008.   No more diabetes. No more insulin pump. No more dialysis. In his words, what Billy received was “freedom.”

Billy has now rejoined his surfing mentors Rich and Phil Salick. Not in the water – but in their mission to help save the lives of more than 113,000 people in the US waiting for kidney transplants. What Billy calls “The Gift of Life.”

Billy Hahn and Rich Salick surfed together in the Salick Surf Teams in the 80s. Now they've teamed up together again to raise money for the NKF and provide hope for people awaiting urgent transplants.(Image courtesy of Billy Hahn)

Billy said was attracted by Space Coast’s offer of free news dissemination under our Citizen Journalism banner – and submitted news about the Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk three weeks ago.

Space Coast allows anyone to contribute their own personal story, news or comment via our Citizen Journalism.  You can find it on the Homepage.

“It’s a really great feature of The Daily,” says Billy. “I’d recommend the Citizen Journalism feature to anyone who has a story to tell. Walk the Walk.  Make Your Mark.  Save a Life!  Please register today for the Footprints in the sand Kidney Beach Walk,” he urges.

Pastor Bob Bruckart is Director of Pastoral Care Health First Hospitals.  Commenting on the Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk, he said: “We become centered, renewed, and touched, not only physically but in our hearts and spirits. We walk and are made whole.”

Kay Poindexter, a social worker with Freseneius Dialysis Center in Viera, has added: “How wonderful to walk on our Cocoa Beach shore, a stretch of beach that has given so much to organ donation.  “Our team – Violet’s Team – honors a founder of our Viera Dialysis Center who has touched many lives.”

Kristin Neal, Public Education Coordinator at TransLife, commented: “I think it’s a beautiful theme, what a way to spend the morning. It’s a gorgeous backdrop and a wonderful event.”

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