Renal Support Network Announces Online Support Group Masterclass

When You Have Kidney Disease, One Friend Can Make a Difference!

GLENDALE, Calif., July 31, 2023– Renal Support Network (RSN) announces the launch of RSN’s Support Group Masterclass, an 8-session online course offered at no charge. Each session provides action steps and equips people with the skills necessary to host their own support group meeting. This training has a focus on kidney disease, but it can be used for any disease state support group.

RSN began when Lori Hartwell, RSN’s founder and President, envisioned people with kidney disease connecting with one another so they do not feel alone and help each other navigate their illness. As she often says, “One friend can make a difference.”

In 1993, Lori took the first step toward her vision and published a phone directory for people with kidney disease in her local area of southern California. When she offered an opportunity for the members to meet one another at the first in-person monthly support group, it was an immediate success. No one wanted to leave. They had finally found friends and peers who spoke the same language and who shared the same struggles, hopes, and experiences. During the pandemic, RSN began hosting a variety of online support groups which are still going strong.

Hartwell says, “The benefits of peer support are well documented in a chronic illness setting. They provide emotional support, a sense of belonging, and a safe space to share experiences and coping strategies. Support groups can also offer valuable information about managing symptoms and accessing resources, helping participants feel less isolated and more empowered in their journey with chronic conditions.”

Lori, however, is not content to host just one support group, or even a few. She wants to see support groups multiply exponentially. She believes, “An illness is too demanding when you don’t have hope.” And she understands that sometimes the best source of hope for someone with kidney disease comes not from healthcare providers, but from peers who are living successfully with kidney disease.

That is why RSN created this masterclass to equip people to start support groups in their local community—to be the leaders who provide a safe place for their kidney peers to connect and provide friendships that can last a lifetime.

It can feel daunting to actually jump in and start a support group. Participants can advance through the class at their own pace in an 8-session, step-by-step online course.

A positive, focused and skillfully moderated support group are the keys for success. Help spread the word so that support groups for people with kidney disease will multiply so that no one will ever have to feel alone in their journey.

To sign up for the course, go to

RSN would like to thank AstraZeneca for their support of this program.


About Renal Support Network

Renal Support Network (RSN) is a nonprofit patient organization that was founded in 1993 by Lori Hartwell, a kidney disease survivor since 1968. RSN strives to help those who are newly diagnosed with CKD or on dialysis, as well as kidney transplant recipients. RSN’s goal is to empower people who have kidney disease to become knowledgeable about their illness, proactive in their care, hopeful about their future and make friendships that last a lifetime. Hartwell suffered kidney failure at the age of two, survived 50-plus surgeries and 13 years of dialysis, and is now living with her fourth kidney transplant. She knows from firsthand experience the difficulty of navigating the myriad emotions that arise from dealing with the disease, and the importance of being engaged in one’s own care.