‘Foot Prints’ Raised 35K For Kidney Dialysis Patients
By Space Coast Daily // May 12, 2014
Bill Posey leads hundreds of volunteers
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) lead hundreds of volunteers and walkers on Saturday during the 3rd Annual Cocoa Beach “Foot Prints in the Sand” Kidney Beach Walk presented by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Florida as a tribute to organ donation.
Physical walkers and online walkers raised more than $35,000 to help dialysis patients and transplant recipients with the enormous burdens of chronic kidney disease. Currently there are more than 120,000 people waiting for the Gift of Life through organ transplantation, of which 18 die every day.
Congressman Posey has walked the walk every year since it inception in 2011.
“It’s an honor to again take part in this year’s kidney walk,” said Congressman Bill Posey, who is a member of the Congressional Kidney Caucus.
“One of the many challenges that organ transplant recipients face is the high cost of immunosuppressive medications which help the body to adjust to new donor organs. Currently, Medicare covers the cost of kidney transplant surgeries but only temporarily covers the cost of the medications which are needed to prevent rejection. After three years, coverage is cancelled. That just defies common sense, and I’ve cosponsored legislation to fix this problem (H.R. 1428), which will ultimately save lives and Medicare resources.”
The walk took place at the Cocoa Beach Pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
The day’s activities will began at 10 a.m. with a “Circle of Life” paddle-out, followed by a Zumba class on the beach to warm-up for the 5K “Footprints in the Sand” non-competitive kidney walk.
The day concluded with a “Sand Castles of Hope” contest for kids of all ages.
I was really a surprise to see such a great turnout for the sandcastle event,” said Bill Hahn, Walk Chairman and kidney transplant recipient. “The kids were everywhere. It was a great Kodak moment for Moms on Mothers Day.”
This year, local dialysis patient Jamii Martin received the You Are Not Alone award, which is presented to Brevard’s most inspirational patient. The Kidney Foundation runs a year-long search seeking a dialysis patient who exemplifies strength, courage and perseverance.
“The National Kidney Foundation of Florida currently puts on seven walks across the state of Florida. The Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk is our only beach walk. It gives us an opportunity to educate people on the importance of organ donation and to thank any living donors and their families,” said Savanna Pitard, Regional Development Manager for the National Kidney Foundation.
“Every month the National Kidney Foundation gives away $14,000 through our direct aid program to those who are having a hard time paying bills, affording transportation to take them to dialysis, or buying groceries. The Kidney Foundation is also able to put on free kidney screenings for at risk individuals with the money raised at the walks. This year I am helping to coordinate the Third Annual Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk as well as walking in memory of a long time friend, Rich Salick.”
The National Kidney Foundation is a major voluntary health organization in the United States, headquartered in New York City with over 30 local offices across the country. Its mission is to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.
“The Cocoa Beach ‘Foot Prints in the Sand’ kidney walk is a revival for the many of us who have been given a second chance,” said Hahn.
“It’s a special event that brings together friends living in our community with organ donors and recipients to meet on the beach to share stories about the gift of life.”
The organization’s activities focus on awareness, prevention and treatment. Initiatives include public and professional education, kidney health screenings, research, and patient services.
“This year was my third year walking and fundraising for The NKF ‘Footprints in the Sand’ kidney walk,” said Jenny Wolverton of Cocoa Beach. “I walk in memory of my mother, who died over 20 years ago from complications arising from her kidney transplant and all my other family members who have been diagnosed with this disease, including my sister and myself. It’s a wonderful day spent on the beach with family and friends all there to do a little good, raise community awareness and support each other.”