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“Pain doesn’t make one suffer, it makes one stronger. It is the inability of not knowing how long the pain will last that makes one truly suffer.” –Rev. Marjie D, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I was invited to submit my essay by dialysis staff, and my goal was to honestly express my own truths about my renal diet, hoping that some readers might find some common ground with my struggles.”David W, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I enjoyed the opportunity to write for the contest. I love writing, so being able to join that skill with something personal to me such as my recovery journey was a very healing and enjoyable task; for me as well as my wife.” Josh M, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I have so enjoyed reading the entries from prior years with the great information and encouragement they gave me that I decided to enter this years contest hoping my experiences also would be helpful to other kidney patient’s.” Debra A, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I really enjoyed doing this Essay and the many challenges I have faced . My dialysis dictionary is how i digest everyday livings and the agenda to maintaining a healthy environment especially in today new Bubble World.” John B, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“This essay contest has prompted me to stay on course and share as often as possible my method of motivational moderation.”Rev. Marjie D, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“The subject of this essay contest piqued my interest because I had had a very challenging time making peace with food on the renal diet, after having spent years making peace with food, in general, due to a lifelong eating disorder.” Sheri S, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I love this contest! It is such a wonderful way to give a voice to kidney patients and such a great creative outlet. This year’s theme was very fun to write on, as the kidney diet has been one of my biggest struggles (and triumphs) as a patient.”Joy A, Honorable Mention, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“I love to write and jumped at the chance to share the dietary challenges of living with CKD and to brag on my clinic dietician, Shannon!”Mike G, President’s Pick, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“Actually I thought it would be tough to write an essay after being away from academics for so many years.  But it really was so much easier writing about a topic I knew very well.  My social worker Kattie Holland brought this contest to my attention and I thought this would be the perfect vehicle to bring my story to others.”Joseph H, 4th Place Winner, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“My experience doing the renal essay has been eye opening for me. I now know that I would really like to inform people on how to just live being on dialysis.” –Makeisha W, 3rd Place Winner 18th Annual Essay Contest 

“My experience with this contest has been great. Writing an essay about my diagnosis was really cathartic for me. Being able to share my story with others is an honor. I am very open about my diagnosis and limitations with everyone. It is a part of who I am but it does NOT define who I am.” –Kristin B, 1st Place Winner, 18th Annual Essay Contest 

I just wanted to tell you how impressed I was with Lubna. She knows so much, she is amazing. What I found very interesting was about Kidneys and the Heat.  That does explain a lot of what I do go through when it is very hot. So many things I had no clue about. 

The Renal Support Network is wonderful. I am trying to go to every meeting I am able. Just knowing I have all the meetings to look forward to has done so, so much for my attitude, my hope and my faith. Thank You For Everything You DO. Linda L

Writing an essay about my diagnosis was really cathartic for me. Being able to share my story with others is an honor. I am open about my diagnosis and limitations because it is a part of who I am. But it does NOT define who I am. Kristin B. 

I am so glad that I received this magazine. Your article regarding SHPT helped me to understand more about PTH and SHPT and treatments. I am so glad that you continued to send the emails and your online magazine.  It was there when I needed the information.  –Paula B.

I found RSN after several weeks searching for a support group and I learned so much. This is making it much easier for us to cope with what has happened (in an extremely short period of time!) –Gerri and Bart S.

I have been attending the new RSN Kidney Kin Foodies Monthly Zoom Group since its conception and look forward to attending it. Our peer group leader, Lubna Akbany, RDN, CSR has provided us with a wealth of professional and personal insight navigating life with kidney disease. As an Renal Dietitian and Kidney Transplant Recipient, the tools Lubna and the peer group members have shared have been more like treasured gifts of information. Even though food and water are essential to our survival, living with kidney disease can affect them differently. It’s crucial for Kidney Kins to be educated, supported and have fun while doing so, which is what we do in this group. I can’t wait until we meet again, thank you for creating this precious group. Come join us! –Laura R.

Renal Support Network is different from any other non-profit organization. It employs ONLY persons with Chronic Kidney Disease. Because of this outstanding practice they are ALL EXPERTS at supporting any/all CKD patients who want a friendly place to learn and engage. They offer so many programs and those programs are always well organized and FUN!! The more you know about your illness the more apt you are to make good choices. Lori and others at RSN are active in Health Policy on the Federal and State level. They are helping change society’s opinion about chronic illness. I have known this group for almost 30 years and they JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER!! Thanks Renal Support Group! –Gail D. RN

I just attended Kidney Kin Foodies group meeting today that was hosted by Lubna Akbany, RSN, CSR. It was educational and interesting. I always learn something new that I can incorporate in my kidney diet. I have CKD stage 5, I’m not on dialysis yet. It’s very refreshing to learn new tips from LUBNA and the group about kitchen gadgets to simply my life and try new fun recipes. I like interacting with the group and sharing how we manage our diets. I understand everyone is at a different stage in their kidney journey but it’s important to be able to share and learn from everyone. Everyone has something interesting to share. I will try the zucchini tacos one member shared. I have gained confidence after attending the meeting. Thank you for these valuable group meetings, I can’t wait for the next one! –Grace T.

RSN is an incredible organization, the best support group out there! I wish I would have found your group sooner! Can’t wait for RSN’s HOPE WEEK this year! –Lori B.

My kidney disease progressed to the point that I needed dialysis in 2005. I was in utter shock. I had a wife, two preschool kids, and a business to run. The best thing I ever did was discover Renal Support Network. I used the message board for support and to learn how to discover more about my illness. Lori and the others showed me how to advocate for myself. To the extent I can, I will always support them. What they do for the whole ESRD community is just what is needed. –Anonymous

I recently attended an RSN Kidney Kin Foodie Group and honestly, I can’t say enough good things about my experience. As a lifelong kidney patient who has been managing a renal diet and working with renal dietitians for years, I know a lot about managing my condition through cooking and food. That said, I love RSN and their many offerings and wanted to give this meeting a try. Lubna Akbany, the subject matter expert for the group, is both a registered dietitian and a transplant recipient. her perspective is unique and interesting in that she can speak to the science behind the renal diet through the empathetic eyes of a kidney patient. I learned a number of things from Lubna during our 1.5hr meeting and from the dialogue she encouraged amongst the participants, all of whom were at different places in their kidney journey. Whether you are new to kidney disease or have been on this journey for a while, I highly recommend RSN’s Kidney Kin Foodie Group. –Kristen R.

Thanks to Lori Hartwell, Cher and the crew at the Renal Support Network for being a great support to me. It has been wonderful to meet others who are dealing with the same illness that I have and hear their life stories and learn from sharing. The groups have been a great support to me by giving me hope and coping skills. Be Fit While You Sit is one of my favorite groups providing improvement with flexibility and strength, while boosting my mood, and reducing stress and joint strain. –Marge M.

Renal support Network was a life saving source for me when I suddenly found myself on dialysis. Their zoom gatherings, podcasts and interest groups have answered many question my doctors don’t have time to discuss and I learned many tips to make life easier. This group is a must for anyone dealing with chronic kidney disease at any level. –Judy R.

I was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2015 during my sophomore year of High School. After I was given my diagnosis, I was bombarded with terms like “IgA nephropathy”, “creatinine”, and “glomerular filtration rate”. I looked to my parents for clarity, but they looked just as confused as I was. I didn’t know anything about kidney disease let alone what it meant to have it. I was feeling really overwhelmed and confused, not sure where to look to educate myself. However, that same year, I learned about a volunteer opportunity through my High School with Renal Support Network (RSN). The opportunity was to assist the organization with their Renal Teen Prom that took place every year. This prom gives teens with kidney disease an opportunity to experience their own prom night while also meeting new friends who are also experiencing kidney disease! I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. That night I learned about the importance of support and friendship and became less afraid of my disease as I realized that I am not alone. RSN’s programs continue to help and inspire me today as I learn from fellow people living with kidney disease and their journey’s. If you are feeling overwhelmed, scared, or confused I encourage you to join in on one of RSN’s many virtual support programs. Even if it’s just once! A little friendship and hope can go a long way! –Isela K.

I was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1997, in a few short months I would find myself on chemotherapy for a rare autoimmune disorder and then peritoneal dialysis. I lived in a large metroplex in north Texas, but when I asked to be referred to a support group, I learned there were none to be found. There wasn’t anyone like me at my treatment center – I was much younger, none one had ever heard of my condition, and I only went in once a month.

My husband, family, friends, and coworkers were my rock in those early days… they tried to help me live “as normal a life as possible” and for that I am eternally thankful. But although I was living a “semi-normal” life – it was hard because I felt so lonely in so many ways. Having to hook up to PD every night, didn’t give me much of a social life and I worked during the day.

After my transplant, I began to feel more ‘normal’ and enjoyed more independence, but there were still things that were obstacles. I found myself, emotionally stunted to some degree. All these great things had happened, but I was still felt lonely. I didn’t know anyone who had had a transplant. I didn’t know anyone who had had my autoimmune disease. I was living my best life, but there was still something missing. By then, there were “meeting rooms on AOL” but I don’t recall there being anything about CKD, dialysis, or transplant and internet was dial up!

One day on the internet I found Renal Support Network and it changed my life! I met Lori and she made it possible for me to meet many other people living in all different stages of kidney disease. Some of these friends have become “lifelong friends!” RSN and my lifelong friends have lived through the ups and downs of life with me, and I still have that great transplant 23 years later!

I have learned I’m not alone; I have even met 2 others with that rare autoimmune disorder! I have learned how to read and understand my labs, about mineral and bone disease, and how to oversee my medical care. All the while, I have developed a network of friends who understand what I’m going through because they have been through it as well! I especially like to participate in RSN support group and be there for people who have recently been diagnosed with CKD. I want them to feel welcome, loved, and most important – that they are not alone. As Lori says, “One friend can make a difference”. –Cher T.

My dad was on dialysis for four years before he passed away from congestive heart failure. At the time I knew little to nothing about his condition and the medical treatment he was receiving. Shortly after his death I met a neighbor named Lori Hartwell, who also happened to be the founder and president of the Renal Support Network (RSN). I started volunteering for RSN and soon discovered a whole new world that I wish I had access to while my dad was alive. I learned about other treatment options that would have been much easier on him. I learned all of the ins-and-outs of the kidney diet that he struggled to adhere to without anyone in the family knowing what he needed. I learned how to communicate with your healthcare team and how advocate for better care. It is so much easier to absorb information in a social setting like RSN’s online support groups than reading a pamphlet or doing a web search, which mostly produces questionable advice. And I have heard so many hopeful stories from people living with kidney disease. I encourage anyone with a family member or even a friend who has kidney disease to attend RSN’s online support groups. Knowledge is power! –Suzette M.

I am a dialysis patient experiencing anxiety and concern. The Renal Support Network provides an opportunity for us to learn about kidney disease and meet with other is the same situation. The information they have to share, and the people they have to share it are outstanding. If you are a kidney patient, or love someone who is, RSN is well worth joining.

The exercise program is excellent and ‘doable’, and the educational material they provide is just ‘best in class’. There is not reason not to partner with or donate to RSN. They are excellent and do their job in a superior fashion. –Jay R. S. PhD

The Renal Support Network has provided me with both emotional and practical support. Seeing how others have coped with kidney disease gives me guidelines and encouragement! I’ve also received great tips from a Renal Dietician who discusses some general best practices that are specific to my condition. I had no idea that such a group as RSN existed and I would recommend that all medical professionals, including nephrologists, case managers, and nurses be made aware of this fantastic support group. I really appreciate their holistic “whole person” approach with nutrition, social groups and even exercise classes. Combining the non-medical perspectives I get from patients involved with RSN groups with suggestions from my medical team gets me prepared for what I need to do in the present and in the future to live the best life I can with my diagnosis. In short, RSN has given me hope and new pathways to health! –Marky S.

I met Lori Hartwell the founder of this amazing organization through an art group. Not only is she an immensely creative artist and jeweler, she is the Founder and President of the Renal Support Network, author of Chronically Happy: Joyful Living in Spite of Chronic Illness, and a co-host of KidneyTalk, a biweekly webcast of issues of interest to those with Chronic Kidney Disease. I’m in awe of her never ending devotion to helping people with kidney disease! Thank you Lori! –Bonnie B.

Last October I was feeling run down and having trouble urinating. I really didn’t know what to do so I called my friend Lori Hartwell from RSN. She asked me a few questions and suggested that I give her Nephrologist a call. I also called my Urologist as my symptoms were similar to a condition I had several months before that were related to a temporarily enlarged prostate. After ruling out any prostate issues, I was urged by both my Nephrologist and Urologist to go to the emergency at Providence Cedars-Sinai hospital in Tarzana. I soon learned that I was experiencing Acute Kidney Failure and within a few hours I was admitted into the hospital and put on dialysis.

I did not realize how serious my condition was and without Lori’s keen insight I might have died. I ended up going on 8 rounds of dialysis over a period of 12 days and during that time, Lori stayed in constant touch with me. She sent me reading materials and provided tapes for me to listen to so that I could deal with my terrible situation. She also gave me tips on diet and nutrition and informed me of all my options. I especially related to one of the tapes of someone else who experienced Acute Kidney Failure and it gave me hope. Fortunately, I am now healthy and living a normal life, but things could have gone terribly wrong had Lori Hartwell and RSN not been there to guide me through.

I have supported RSN throughout the years, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I would be in need of their services. Thank you Lori for all that you do and keep up the good work! –Matteo B.

I so appreciate the opportunity to share my story and also be a part of this community. My life has been turned upside down, in the best possible way, because of the RSN support group! You guys do such great work. I send your links to many of our Health patients who are looking for support, exercise groups, and more information about kidney disease, transplant, and dialysis. I know that so many, including me, appreciate all that you all provide to not only keep us informed but keep us living life and doing things that are fun, healthy, and meaningful. –Jullie H.

Lori, I commend you on your commitment, your perseverance and tenacity in the face of the struggles you’ve endured and thank you for the time and effort you clearly put into educating and informing others. –Tom M

I just wanted to reach out and say thank you very much for inviting and having my son to attend the Renal Support Network’s virtual prom. He said he really enjoyed it and was so glad he got to hear other people’s stories. He received his kidney transplant last May and so far, this journey post-transplant hasn’t been the easiest on him. This whole journey has been rough on him both mentally, emotionally and physically. So, this really seemed to help him some by meeting and hearing from others. Thanks again for having him it was such a blast. –Wendy W.

I just wanted to say thank you for letting me be a part of the Renal Teen Prom experience. I had a blast! –Kassidy W.

I enjoyed attending Hope Week. It reconfirmed some information I already knew but had slipped from the forefront of awareness, provided new information, and a variety of perspectives. It was time well spent. –Robin S.

I was reading your magazine and I was particularly touched by the story of David Trujillo. What a great story, such a great role model for some of my Latino male teens with whom I plan to share this story. Have also shared with all my pediatric staff including the social workers. Thanks for these inspiring articles. Just means so much more coming from those who have experienced the same trials, tribulations and successes. –Pam K.

Hope Week has been a wealth of information &  I will definitely access the recordings. If only I had known this 20 years ago because I am paying the price for high phosphorus now. I can’t thank you enough for your tremendous efforts and passion! –Peggy B.

You all rock!  Thank you so much for all that you do in supporting others who just want some education, compassion, and indeed, hope.  What an extraordinary session yesterday! And who does this…provide immediate help with topics that surface at the session…who does that these days!!  Much appreciated. Thank you, again. –Kathie N.

When the Hope Week attendance package arrived, I was in a hard place. I can’t tell you how it lifted my spirits. I am so glad that I found the Renal Support Network and I am looking forward to future events and to watching the conference videos  I missed (and rewatching those I attended) when they are released. Please accept my thanks and appreciation to both you and to all those behind the scenes. –Margaret S.

I used the advice I learned from you and the pain meds podcast in a real-world situation. I listed NASIDs as an allergy on my records before I had my hysterectomy last week and it was taken very seriously. They put a special allergy band on during my stay and the anesthesiologists, doctors and nurses talked to me about it and how they would care for my kidneys as part of the overall procedure and my pain management. –Kristin R.

I obtain really helpful information at the online support group meeting.  I keep coming back because this is a great group, and I am so grateful to be a part of RSN. –Elizabeth O.

Thank you very much for all the online support groups and other virtual activities you provide for all of us living with kidney disease. They have really made a difference in my life since it has been such a challenge to live alone during COVID and feeling so shut in and isolated. RSN is a such a bright spot in my life. –Diana K.

I just wanted to send a message to say how grateful I am to have stumbled on your website. My husband is due to have a transplant in two weeks donated from his wonderful work college. To find your website now was exactly what i needed. Thank you for all the work you do and the hope and inspiration it brings. kind regards. –Chloe T

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.

RSN organizes such wonderfully successful meetings for patients that are effective on so many levels.  Lori Hartwell has a knack for expressing concepts in such a user-friendly yet realistic way – it’s a great balance. Vernon S. Renal Social Worker

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. –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! –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

It’s not just for me that the KidneyTalk magazine helps. It helps my family, my team. I get inspired by reading this publication. Thank you. –Jacqueline M

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

Hi Lori, I like the KidneyTalk Magazine you sent me in the mail it was educational and empowerment all in one, Thanks! –Thomas J

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 KidneyTalk Magazine 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

Thank you for this opportunity to allow patients to share their stories.(Essay Contest) It was very healing for several of them. –Tammy Z, LMSW

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

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