I am an ESRD patient living in Baltimore, Maryland. My kidney disease started when I was 12 years old, when doctors diagnosed me with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and hypertension. I have survived open-heart surgery and a left leg amputation, never letting either stop me or slow me down.
At the age of 33, I started in-center hemodialysis, which changed my life—not in a bad way, but in a good way. I learned that life does not end with dialysis, and I worked as a set-up technician for three years. The position gave me the opportunity to learn and understand the process from both sides, making me the bridge between patients and staff.
I was introduced to DPC to through my facility administrator, who hired me, and I became a Patient Ambassador. I have rallied on Capitol Hill, had lobby days in my center with visits from Members of Congress, and held healthcare booths at local churches and town events.
I love pre-education and teaching, as I worked in the school system as a computer paraprofessional. I have been to college and technical school, involved with ESRD NCC Network 5 as a PAC (Patient Advisory Committee), a subject-matter expert with an interest in emergency preparedness and a certified peer supporter.
DPC has now welcomed me as a board member. I hope with years of in-center hemodialysis I can bring some experience and expertise to this position and take some information back to patients by reassuring them that we are here working for them for better care and assistance from our policy makers. I want our policy makers to hear us and to know we are all just trying to live as normal lives as we can in a healthy and safe environment.
As a board member I will bring fairness and respect to this title. My advocacy skills will be at their best. Never will I speak low, but my voice will echo so that it can be heard all over the world for what I stand for as an ESRD Patient.