As the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois prepares for one of its largest annual fundraising events, we take a closer look at how Chicagoans can help the cause.
Joaquin C. Brieva, MD, and wife Jennifer Sutton Brieva continue their search for a type O kidney donor.
The stats on kidney disease in the U.S. are sobering: 37 million American adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), including a disproportionate number of Black and Latinx people; hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents have CKD, and most don’t know it; and despite 3,484 people needing a kidney in Illinois, there were only 1,201 kidney transplants in 2021.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike accepts the Gift of Life Award at NKFI’s 2021 gala.
Jennifer Sutton Brieva is all too familiar with those stats; her husband, noted Northwestern Memorial professor of dermatology Joaquin C. Brieva, MD, is in need of a kidney himself, and the East Lakeview residents started their search last December for a type O donor match. Sutton Brieva continues to spread the word; she’s also planning to lead #teamjoaquin in this month’s Walk for Kidneys, held to support the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. It’s a crucial event for the organization, notes NKFI CEO Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop. “As an organization committed to prevention, education and empowerment, the Walk for Kidneys is an opportunity for patients, families, friends, co-workers and supporters of all kinds to empower themselves by walking strong for kidney health. Each year we are touched by the powerful stories of each of our participants, and we are in awe of their generosity and commitment to our mission.”
The annual Walk for Kidneys will be held June 12.
As Sutton Brieva continues to search for a donor, that mission to promote kidney health—and, most critically, to find a kidney for Joaquin—has become the most personal of causes. “It would mean everything for us to find a kidney donor match for Joaquin,” she sums up, “because it is essentially a gift of life. It provides him a second chance to live, and us a future together.”
HOW TO HELP
Get screened.Free screenings include urinalysis, blood pressure check, blood sugar test, BMI measurement, a possible blood draw and a consultation with a healthcare provider.
Do the Walk. The Walk for Kidneys raises awareness and support for kidney health. June 12, Diversey Harbor
Consider being a donor. Learn more about kidney donation at nkfi.org/be-a-donor: Apply to see if you are a match for Joaquin Brieva (blood type O) or another patient in need by visiting nmlivingdonor.org