I volunteered at the Renal Support Network’s 17th and 18th Annual Renal Teen Prom. This was a very rewarding experience. As an individual that had been recently diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, volunteering for this event meant a lot to me, and gave me a sense of solidarity with the strong individuals that attended the prom. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the Annual Renal Teen Prom since these opportunities had an influence on my declaring the NGO major at USC. –Isela K
Founded by Lori Hartwell in 1993, The Renal Support Network (RSN) plays a vital role educating and supporting patients with chronic renal failure. Courageous and doggedly determined, Lori first tackled kidney failure as a mere child. Fortunately, Dr. Richard Fine, her pediatric nephrologist, dispensed expert medical care and a heavy dose of hope—a bedrock ingredient to overcoming adversity and a lodestone for facing down challenges ahead.
Lori never forgot Dr. Fine’s kindness and unmitigated optimism as she soldiered through four kidney transplants and committed her life to helping others facing similar challenges.
Under her leadership, the RSN continues providing hope, education, and guidance for kids and adults facing dialysis and the road to kidney transplantation. Her work and mission illuminate the path forward for patients and caregivers alike. –Michael Fisher MD, Associate Clinical Professor Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine
“I have been a CDK patient for over 30 years. When my kidney’s finally failed it was a huge lifestyle adjustment. Being your own advocate is so important. You have to learn all you can whether it is about your labs or food choices. Kidney talk podcasts are a great place to hear about everything pertaining to kidney disease. There are so many topics and it is so informative. Over the years I have recommended kidney talk to many patients.” –Julie Glennon-Roy
“Your articles and podcast help me all the time. I am going into my third year of dialysis. I am so glad this network and thank God for you.” –Tony P.
“Hi Lori, I have been following Rsn since before my own transplant almost 13 years ago. You never cease to amaze me. Your focus, Perseverance and dedication to help other kidney patients has made a world wide difference! Wanted to reach out to say thank you for all you do and who you are.” – Mary R.
Thank you for educating us at the Annual Patient Lifestyle event, you are an amazing advocate for all of us with Kidney Disease. With all honesty, where would a lot of us be without you taking the time out of your busy schedule to present this wonderful educational event on a yearly basis, and getting our questions answered by industry professionals that assist us in living, thriving, managing and coping with this disease. Thank you for your compassionate spirit, along with your drive and determination, giving us the tools to survive and thrive. – Sandy
A big thank you to Lori Hartwell for founding this site and also to all the people it must take to keep it running. I am a mother with a six year old boy just diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. I needed information from people who have been down the road we are headed down and there is not a site out there that compares to rsnhope.com. Lori you are an inspiration thank you and thank you again. – Sarah B
When I started dialysis over 2 years ago, your Kidneytalk podcasts got me through the hard times. Thank you. – Debra P
I’ve been aware of your organization for many years. Thank you for all you do! I just have to comment on the Renal Teen Prom you hosted. The photos are wonderful and what a great celebrity turn-out! I missed my own senior prom back in 1988 (I attended Hoover High in Glendale, coincidentally!) because of a “kidney infection” which I didn’t realize, until 1989, was leading up to kidney failure. I suppose because of that, this event is especially touching to me. I’ve since received a transplant in 1990 at age 20 and again in 2003 and now work for Donate Life California.
I continue to be inspired by your work with the Renal Support Network. You don’t know how many times I have reached out to the RSN and found the answers I needed. You are a blessings, and I hope to reach people in the same way that you reached me. God Bless. – Katie H
If it wasn’t for you guys, with all your help and joy. I honestly would not be here. I was suffering from depression along with my kidney disease and to be honest I tried to take my life a few times, but when I went to the Renal Prom when I was 13 something gave me hope. I always looked forward to getting a beautiful dress, meeting friends, meeting celebrities, and having a great time. All of you guys saved my life in a way and there’s no way I can repay that. And for that I thank you guys so much. Love Sarissa V
RSN is an organization who helped us (Kaiser Permanente), create our living donor video. I feel that the Renal Support Network truly works to help people with kidney disease Thrive! Nichole K. M, MD
Lori, you, your RSN staff and RSN are just amazing! I truly wish there was an RSN version here on the East coast or if I could get more involved. RSN is the ONLY organization that is truly about patients. Keep up the amazing work… I feel honored to know you!
Hi Lori, I found the “Itchy, Itchy Dry Skin, What to do?” podcast informative since my dermatologist never explained my itchy back is likely caused by my chronic renal failure. It is the only area I haven’t moisturized & now I will start to. Thank you for your invaluable work you do! Say well, Rochelle C
The work that the Renal Support Network provides is life changing for those that are living with kidney disease. As a dialysis Social Worker the information and services you provide are incredibly valuable to both professionals and the patients/clients we serve. Thank you for your work. – Maria Elena A, MSW
Thank you for all the support. I am just diagnosed with CKD few months ago. This site help me understand what lies ahead.– Analy O
Just listened to a podcast “Iraq War Veteran, Fire Fighter, Paramedic: Now Transplant and Dialysis Veteran” with Shawn Booker. Thank you for sharing your story. I am Stage 5, pre-dialysis, very nervous about what lies ahead, 49 years young with a 14 year old daughter. Your history and determination gives me some comfort that I’m going to get thru this. Knowing that you are on this end of things allows me to look on the horizon & know I can do this. – Suzanne S
I wanted to personally reach out to you and thank you for everything that you have done for the CKD and ESRD community. Seeing what you’ve built and how you’ve used your experiences to make a positive impact is not only inspiring, but also motivating. You are an immense role model of how perseverance and determination can make a world of a difference and I thank you for reminding me of that. Best wishes for health and happiness always. Jamie R
Hi Lori, I really enjoyed your Yellow Brick Road talk at the seminar yesterday. It was the best part of the whole event! Thanks for being an inspiration for us all! – Marian C
Oh my goodness, I just watched your story on the website and I’m crying. You’re an inspiration my dear. I had no idea and I’m simply speechless. My story seems so …. I don’t know, incomparable. But I guess it’s a matter of perspective. This disease stinks but you know I wouldn’t be the person I am today. There’s reason for each experience we are given they say. It’s a matter of what you choose to do with it that matters. Thank you for all you’ve done for the kidney community. You rock. – Laurie C
Diana’s story “Cured from Hepatitis C” is very inspiring. I was in a Hep C study. I took three pills including Riboflavin. It was a tough six month but on the other side I was cured. I also have to comment that Scripps La Jolla has a machine now that shows if there is any scarring of the liver. It is similar to a sonogram… no surgery. The gift God gave me is absolutely amazing and it has been six years off dialysis by changing my diet and an absolute miracle mind set change thanks to your book Chronically Happy. I love you Lori! – Angela P
Thank you for YOUR SUPPORT of Renal Patients. As an End Stage Renal Patient, I can’t extend to you how much your support is appreciated. You help to give us hope, God Bless. – Peter J. V
I’m a in-center hemodialysis patient and just finished listening to the interview with Mary Houglum, RSN. Absolutely loved it, it was very informative. I’m always interested in hearing a caregiver’s perspective on dialysis. – Carmen A
I am a nurse new to dialysis. I saw the Live & Give newsletter at a clinic during training, and it inspired me to an even greater hope to help my patients. I want to do all I can in my professional role and believe you will help me achieve that desire. Thank you very much, and GOOD JOB!! – Margo
Lori I just wanted to thank you for your interview with Margaret Boelger “Reaching 100 on Dialysis: Tips for a Long Joyful Life.” She is delightful and hearing her story made my day. Dialysis is not the right choice for everyone, and all should be made aware of dialysis, transplant and non-dialytic care options. We should all be sure to avoid making assumptions about the choices. Margaret’s statement that “Each person must decide for themselves what the right thing to do… I look forward to my future” should be something all caregivers hear. – Linda U
Hi Lori, I don’t think I’ve said it before (and if I did, I apologize for repeating myself!), but I so love reading all about the Renal Support Network’s/your annual Renal Teen Prom! This 16th theme is especially near and dear because of the water lover in me. Hats off to you and your entire crew for making this happen year after year!– Mary W
I have volunteered and worked in setting up among other things in 2009 for Renal Prom at my high school in Notre Dame Sherman Oaks. I am applying to medical school upcoming this year and RSN has helped play a role in my choice to pursue medicine.– Aaron-James L
I am a dialysis nurse and have been working with kidney patients since 1993. I have met Lori Hartwell in 1997 and became aware that she was the author of the support group directory for kidney patients living in each geographical area of greater Los Angeles. I personally gave out many of these directories to my patients when they started dialysis therapy. My first real involvement with the Renal Support Network occurred in 1999 when I volunteered as a driver for the first Renal Teen Prom that took place in Notre Dame High School. This was a fantastic event and all teens had an opportunity to have a real prom experience and dance night out surrounded by their peers. This event helped me to realize how much this small patient-ran organization means for kidney community, and I wanted to become more involved. Since then, I have volunteered for every single Renal Teen Prom, and has gotten bigger and better each year. A few years ago I took my teenage son with me to the prom and he had a great time as well. Besides the Prom, RSN focuses on education, support, and advocacy to ensure that all people with kidney disease live well and have hope in spite of chronic disease. They utilize all sources of communication and social media to reach out to the community, but you can always talk to a real person on the other end to receive support and that what makes them special!– Lana, RN
I was introduced to The Renal Support Network about two years ago by a fellow kidney patient. I was immediately impressed by the scope of services they offered and their dedication, not to mention Lori Hartwell and her staff. They are the foremost organization in the renal field when it comes to patient support and education. And this is not just talk; I’ve seen the Renal Support Network in action. From the Teen Prom, “Who Lives”, the highly regarded and eye opening play they produced, to the vast array of educational programs they offer, the Renal Support Network is without peer.– Voiceguy
It’s hard to believe but it has been one year this month that I met Lori Hartwell and the crew at the Renal Support Network. I was referred to Lori by a Nurse at my clinic and that has turned out to be some of the best advice I have ever received. I first went to a RSN support meeting seeking to see firsthand how others were dealing with the same illness that I had. My life was changed at that meeting. Lori has taught me to lift the spirits of other patients by telling my own story while listening to theirs. I have made a few fortunes over the years but none have equaled the values of life that Lori has shared with me. Lori Hartwell and the Renal Support Network have taught me how to help people smile and cope and in turn that puts a big smile on me! I haven’t missed a support group meeting since that very first one last year. In fact, I now attend RSN’s support group every month as well as volunteer for anything and everything I can to help others. Thank you Lori Hartwell! – Thomas
My first contact with Renal Support Network (RSN) was by happenstance. A friend of mine wanted to attend a support group meeting held by RSN and I just went along for the ride with no intention of actually attending the meeting. As GOOD luck would have it, I did attend the meeting and found a wonderful group of compassionate, understanding, and supportive people at RSN who selflessly gave of themselves to help the attendees. I was hooked and could not wait until the next meeting a month later. Fast forward to the present and now I volunteer at any possible opportunity. I see how Lori Hartwell and her staff and programs affect people in such a positive way. I personally have seen attendees to the support group meeting walk in with a heavy heart and leave hopeful for the future, just as I did over a year ago. – mbgc
I have been a Pediatric Dialysis Nurse for many years.11 years ago I was approached by a former patient who had succeeded well in her life.(Lori Hartwell founder of Renal Support Network) to volunteer for a Teen Prom. She wanted to give to this community.Through her skills and inspiration she launched The Renal Teen Prom in Southern California. I have been part of this from the beginning and have encouraged (and driven) many of the Teens that I worked with, to take part in this amazing event. They LOVE it and have gone back year after year. It is a tribute to the organisation that many of the same drivers also take the teens to this event – year after year. The movable Prom Dress Boutique that goes from Hospital to Hospital, unit to unit each year so the girls can have a fun dress to wear to the Prom is an amazing event also. There is a core group of us who just would not miss being part of this annual event. On the education side,the booklet that RSN puts out quarterly is amazing and shows that Renal Patients are more than just their diagnoses. RSN empowers patients. – Lesley Holden RN
My daughter Jenna was diagnosed with kidney failure at 15 years old. We heard about the Renal Support Network from others who knew its founder, Lori Hartwell, was a child/teen kidney patient. We attended RSN’s patient education meetings and learned a lot about what Jenna was facing. The group is comprised of patients helping patients and it makes a huge difference to get support from someone who has walked in your shoes. Over the past 9 years RSN has been a great resource for support and hope for our family. – Karol F
I received a kidney transplant in 2007, after which I felt that I wanted to give something back to help other chronic kidney disease patients. I was not able to find any other support groups on my own, but a friend who had worked with Lori in the past told me about her, and eventually set up a meeting with Lori. In just hearing Lori talk about her past, I was very impressed with her knowledge, the extent of her involvement in helping others, as well as the overall purpose of RSN. Since then, I have progressively gotten more involved, and still am impressed with how Lori has spread the message and impact of RSN nationally, and the extent of her involvement in state and national advocacy for CKD patients overall. Her ceaseless effort and untiring ability to not only continue what has been done to help patients, but come up with new ideas to broaden the RSN message, continue to amaze me. I feel fortunate to have found RSN and Lori, and look forward to learning more about CKD, laws affecting patients, and how to help more. Attending the renal teen prom, which is provided to teens free of charge, is not only an impressive event, but very inspiring to watch these young people enjoy this event, as well as the volunteers who help put it on. –Dack