10/01/2009

Lori's Lines "Welcome from Lori Hartwell"

By Lori Hartwell
 
Dear Friend,
 
I am excited to introduce the first issue of the weKAN Live & Give newsletter. The title of this newsletter represents the core belief system of the Renal Support Network (RSN) and the weKAN Patient Activists—we can live, and give!
 
As weKAN Patient Activists, we believe that it is important to provide hope, encouragement and support to our peers. We need to help one another get through the trials and tribulations kidney disease can often present as well as advocate for the best possible care.  
 
Stories of hope, ways to better your life, and ideas on how to help fellow patients will be the main thrust of our newsletter. Our newsletter—because “you” becomes “we”—unites fellow patients in our desire to improve the lives of chronic kidney disease survivors.
 
In my 35 years of living with kidney disease, I know that experience is the best teacher. As I have visited over 500 dialysis facilities and given presentations in over 40 states, it is evident to me that there is a plethora of talent within the renal patient community. We need you! It is weKAN’s goal to help patients help patients. 
 
weKAN Patient Activists work to empower fellow patients to make informed decisions about their care, to become involved in policies that impact their life, and to speak up. By educating patients on how to become actively involved in decisions affecting their lives, weKAN promotes self-advocacy and self-determination.
 
weKAN Patient Activists are already making a difference. We are getting to know our elected officials and educating them about kidney disease and what patients need to ensure quality care. We are planning patient education meetings around the country as well as being invited to participate as speakers. In addition, there are many “behind the scenes” committees that make decisions about our care. Several weKAN Patient Activists are participating on some of these committees and providing the patient’s perspective.
 
weKAN is a small group of Patient Activists with big ideas! Our wish is to inspire you and give you the tools that will help you make a difference in your community. “An illness is too demanding when you don’t have hope.” 

 It has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated Patient Activists who are truly making a difference! A special thanks to Shari Gilford for all her hard work in creating the layout of this newsletter. 
 
Chronically Yours,
        Lori Hartwell,
        President & Founder of the Renal Support Network