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On Friday evening, March 27th, I was honored to attend a community-service event at New Jersey’s Westwood Regional High School. There I met a rare breed of students, who gave up a Friday night of sneaking around behind their parents’ kidneys to pollute their own. Instead they opted to describe their work on projects important to them — educating displaced kids in Iraq, fighting autism, saving what’s left of the planet, and, in the case of Ramy Youssef, curing PKD.

Here are a few of these great kids:


Posted on June 23rd, 2009 | Filed under generosity, kidney, PKD, renal | No Comments »

On Wednesday, June 10th, my manager went to an event for PKD research at NYU. One guest speaker was Dr. Irina Barash. Dr. Barash told everyone about the state of PKD research. She was terrific. Obviously pregnant, she was also obviously in very good spirits. She’s already been to three Walks for PKD, and will be there in Lower Manhattan on October 25th if her newborn allows. Three cheers for Dr. Barash!

The main attraction was NY Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who was kind enough to lend his time to become the TriState Walk for PKD’s Honorary Chairman. The Giants wrote a nice article about his involvement, and my manager’s good friend, SI Senior Sportswriter Damon Hack, asked Gilbride a question that made it into a story he was working on:

Can Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco avoid the sophomore slump?

I’m just a kidney, so I don’t know much about the chances of Ryan or Flacco, but with support like this, the PKD Foundation will be able to avoid matching the greater economic slump.

PKD Foundation President Dan Larson was on hand to introduce Coach Gilbride, and after Gilbride talked about his family’s experience with PKD and his own experience with the Giants, the always-inspiring Leigh Reynolds, the PKD Foundation’s Director of Special Events, asked the audience, “How many of you know 20 people from whom you can raise $20?”

If enough people in the PKD community would ask 20 friends for $20 each, we’d have this disease cured in no time. — Kenny

Posted on June 19th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized | No Comments »

My manager was in our nation’s capital this week, asking the staffs of four senators and four representatives for a little more funding for PKD research, and a little help making more organs available to those who need them. Along with a number of old and new PKD friends from around the country, Bill met Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (R) in person, and met the staff of Sens. Gillibrand (D-NY), Schumer (D-NY) and Harkin (D-Iowa), as well as the staffs of Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn), Paul Tonko (D-Upstate NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NYC) and his old friend Tom Perriello (D-Charlottesville, VA & surrounding).

Each day, more than 16 Americans die while waiting for a kidney. We’re hoping to do something about that.

Posted on March 5th, 2009 | Filed under kidney, organ donation, PKD | No Comments »

Today’s NY Post features a political cartoon by Sean Delonas that has to be seen to be believed.

Two cops have shot a chimp to death. One says, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

Comparing our black president, the author of the current economic stimulus bill, to a rampaging chimpanzee that has been shot dead by two white cops is inexcusable. But publishing such a cartoon in New York City in 2009? That’s beyond belief.

I’m just a kidney, and I may well have been removed from the body of a white person. (I didn’t look, so happy was I to be out of that confined space — and so ignorant, then, of the impact of race.) But this cartoon’s racism is obvious even to me. And if it’s obvious to a *kidney,* then how did it ever get published?

Shame on Sean Delonas, and shame on every member of the Post editorial team who approved the publication of this cystic cartoon.  — Kenny

Posted on February 18th, 2009 | Filed under cystic, kidney | No Comments »

A man who extended the lives of millions of kidney patients has died. All of us who care about kidneys would do well to take a moment to honor him in our thoughts.

Sandra Blakesleee of the NY Times reports, “As a young physician at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1938, Dr. Kolff watched a young man die a slow, agonizing death from temporary kidney failure. He reasoned that if he could find a way to remove the toxic waste products that build up in the blood of such patients, he could keep them alive until their kidneys rebounded.”

As he began experimenting, the Nazis invaded The Netherlands. To avoid working with Nazi sympathizers, he moved to a small hospital in a rural area, “set up Europe’s first blood bank,” and kept working on his kidney machine.

“The device was an exemplar of Rube Goldberg ingenuity. It consisted of 50 yards of sausage casing wrapped around a wooden drum set into a salt solution. The patient’s blood was drawn from a wrist artery and fed into the casings. The drum was rotated, removing impurities. To get the blood safely back into the patient, Dr. Kolff copied the design of a water-pump coupling used in Ford motor engines. Later he used orange juice cans and a clothes washing machine to build his apparatuses. The first 15 people placed on the machine died.”

But then they started living longer. At one point he used the machine on a woman whom kidney failure had put into a coma. She lasted on the machine a long time. Immediately upon coming out of the coma, she announced that she was going to divorce her husband — because he was against the Nazis, and she was for them. She lived another seven years.

Doctors can’t save only the nice ones ….

Today let us honor the great Willem Kolff. Oh, yeah — he also invented the artificial heart. And gave credit to his co-worker, Robert Jarvik.

Willem Kolff, Doctor Who Invented Kidney and Heart Machines, Dies at 97 (NY Times)

Not all good people die young. — Kenny

Posted on February 13th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized | No Comments »

… and maybe longer:

Kidney donors have a normal life span, study finds

That’s wonderful news. Those who need new kidneys — and those who love them — can continue asking, with clean consciences. — Kenny

Posted on January 29th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized | No Comments »

Not long ago, bestselling author, Emmy-Award-winning actor and longtime talk-show host Charles Grodin gave of his time and himself to help fight PKD. My manager was thrilled to meet him at the Manhattan party, and was honored to introduce him, as you can see here: 

One of the unusual things about the generous Mr. Grodin is that he doesn’t mind being insulted. But we’ll let him illustrate that:Mr. Grodin did a wonderful thing by volunteering his time. He brought laughter and fun to an evening that brought together a number of good people who hadn’t seen each other in years. And it was all to benefit PKD research — the research that will one day keep my brother and sister kidneys from getting too big for their britches.

Charles was kind enough to mention our event in his NY Daily News column: 

Good reasons to leave the house

He also told a reporter from the Stamford Advocate about us, in a story that was picked up by

CBS Film series  features Grodin, ‘Midnight Run’

Charles spoke movingly at the event about losing his father to renal failure. He understands the importance of kidneys. The event was hosted by the very generous people at Select Office Suites, who donated not only the space but the labor of several employees. Thank you, Ray Lindenberg, Angela Olivo, Claire Karwan-Cutting, Dominick Olivo, Luz Estella, and everyone else at SOS for helping make this event wonderful! Thank you, Louis Collier and family for making it all work. Thank you, Kathy Leeds, for putting us in touch with Mr. Grodin. Thank you, Carolyn Brewer, for putting us in touch with Kathy Leeds. And thank you, Mr. Grodin, for making us laugh, and sharing your time with a cause you’d never heard of before. We were already big fans of yours — now we’re even more fanatical. All footage shot by my manager’s wife, the lovely and talented Victoria Brewer.  — Kenny

Posted on January 13th, 2009 | Filed under generosity, Grodin, kidney, PKD, renal | No Comments »

As usual, she’s thoughtful, sober, and correct:

Take my kidney, please 

Sally Satel is a wonderful advocate for all those in need of organ transplants. We should support her. — Kenny

Posted on January 8th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized | No Comments »

A Long Island doctor whose wife had an affair is asking her to return the kidney he gave her — or at least the cash equivalent — in everyone’s favorite kidney story of the day.

People are haggling over whether doctors would actually perform such a reverse transplant, whether it’s ethical, whether the spurned husband is crazy to make this request, blah blah blah. But I’ve looked at maybe fifty different versions of this story, reported all over — and I’m still waiting to find *one* that considers this sad story from the point of view of the kidney.

Come on, people. It’s a custody dispute. Shouldn’t someone at least *ask* the kidney where it wants to live?

I’m amazed I have to point this stuff out ….

— Kenny

Posted on January 8th, 2009 | Filed under kidney, organ donation | No Comments »

My manager, Bill, got married in September. His lovely and talented bride, Victoria, agreed to fulfill yet one more of his lifelong dreams by honeymooning in Africa. They landed in Tanzania, and went on a number of cool safaris. I’m going to post a few of these images from time to time, ’cause they’re fun. Here’s the first:

A Masai village greets the newlyweds.

Posted on January 4th, 2009 | Filed under Africa | No Comments »

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