RSN has something very special to celebrate this month. Lori Hartwell, RSN’s president and founder turns 52 on July 24th. She has had kidney disease since the age of 2, so this marks her 50th year of survival. Lori’s story is nothing short of extraordinary. She was placed on dialysis at the age of two when her kidneys stopped working. She has had 50 surgeries, 4 kidney transplants and was on dialysis for 13 years.
Lori has accomplished so many amazing things in her life. She founded the Renal Support Network (RSN) in 1993 to inspire “health, happiness, and hope” into the lives of her peers. To many, Lori is a mentor and an immense role model of how perseverance and determination can make a world of difference. She has received multiple awards for patient advocacy and has been published in peer reviewed Nephrology journals.
She is the author of Chronically Happy – Joyful Living in Spite of Chronic Illness, an inspirational guidebook for handling lifestyle and numerous other non-medical issues that come up in the course of chronic disease. She Hosts RSN’s KidneyTalk Podcast, an online radio show that launched in 2006 featuring healthcare professionals and people living successfully with kidney disease who share personal experiences in inspirational, thought-provoking interviews.
Lori is affectionately known as the Prom Queen in the kidney community and by family and close friends. She missed her own prom due to being on dialysis for all her teenage years, and who didn’t want other teens to miss this coming of age event and have the opportunity to meet each other. So, she created a special prom just for young people who have kidney disease. The annual Renal Teen Prom for teens and young adults who have kidney disease turns 20 this year. Since 1999 the Prom has been a memorable event that these young people look forward to year after year. The 20th Annual Renal Teen Prom on January 20, 2019 promises to be a spectacular party.
Lori will be celebrating this milestone with her husband of 20 years, Dean Hartwell and their six fur and feathered babies (four dogs, one cat and Johnny the African Grey Parrot).
We all wish Lori a very, very happy birthday, and many more!
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