Hundreds of walkers gathered on a muggy Saturday morning in Charlotte, NC, sporting kidney disease awareness t-shirts and following behind a giant plush ‘Sidney the Kidney’ mascot. Among this crowd, more than 150 employees of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) volunteered to participate and raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.
Taking part in one of the largest walks of the season were Dr. Robert Kossman, Chief Medical Officer for FMCNA, and Dr. Terry Ketchersid, Chief Medical Officer for the company’s Integrated Care Group.
“The walk is an incredible opportunity for our team to meet the people who are benefiting from and informing our research, innovation, and care,” said Dr. Kossmann. “Seeing their strength and determination to live full lives is inspiring to our team, and we feel grateful for the opportunity to work with such a resilient group of people.”
For the second consecutive year, FMCNA is the national presenting sponsor for the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walks. So far this season, walkers have raised over $179,000, and the company continues to rally its employees to participate in the national team and demonstrate their support for people affected by kidney disease.
“I am proud of our team and their personal commitment to people living with kidney disease,” said Dr. Ketchersid. “Many of them see firsthand the challenges of living with a chronic disease, and their compassion and drive to help is what has made us an industry leader.”
Fundraising for the Charlotte walk was led by a local team of four leaders—Shannon Jackson, Robin Surane, Trina Deaton, and Dawn Lawson—who have each been participating for over five years.
This year, Jackson searched the crowd for one of her own patients who had planned to travel nearly 100 miles to attend the walk, only to learn that the patient had been called to her local hospital to receive a transplant that morning.
“It was fun to be walking and thinking about what she was doing and all of the excitement she was experiencing at that very moment,” Jackson said.
Surane added that she feels inspired when she spends time with patients outside of the clinic setting.
“Those moments with the patients really recharge my energy to keep pushing forward every day,” Surane said.
Fresenius Medical Care has committed to raising $800,000 for the NKF through the 2019-2020 walks.
View more images from National Kidney Foundation walks around the country here.