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Fighting Strong

January 11, 2013


Kidney Health Is Important For Everyone

I was 28 years old when my grandmother passed away in March 2011. I never verbally said goodbye to her nor did I allow her to see me one last time before her eyes closed forever. I attended her funeral with my mother in tow, barely recognizing faces of long distant relatives and friends that came to pay their last respects to her.

The hardest realization about the day of my grandmother's funeral was accepting her pass and acknowledging a health concern that has crept into my family's medical history as the result of excess, addiction and denial: End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The ramifications of ESRD are brutal. The irreversible deterioration marks a fear in a human being like no other. The complexities of our kidneys take on a different meaning than simply renal function; they keep us flushed and they keep us alive.

My grandmother passed away from natural causes, but my mother, sitting by me that day at the funeral was dying every day from ESRD as the result of a lust for cigarettes, fast food and hypertension. The day of the funeral was a day of reckoning for me. I swore never to allow my health to deteriorate because of wastefulness.

I made a change. I took control of my health by reading both popular and scholarly medical articles on nutrition and fitness and applying them to my daily routine. I also realized that changing my health and the health of my family was not the end goal, but that the end goal was paying it forward to individuals much less fortunate than myself.

I Co-Found the volunteer, patient advocacy group Kidney Contenders. Susie Reat (Co-Founder) and I do our best to communicate kidney health awareness to communities that suffer greatly from diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, which are all major components that can lead to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). We also make it our business to interview notable people or organizations that can inspire the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients to look past their disease and focus more on how they can improve their overall well-being and the well-being of their country.

While my journey may not be typical for a fitness/weight loss story, I did survive and reproduce an opportunity to educate with the potential to save lives and that is my story.

--- Copyright © 2012 Jenn Smith-Williams
Co-Founder of Kidney Contenders

Jenn Smith-Williams works as a Clinical Administrative Coordinator for a dialysis center in Austin, TX and is the Co-Founder of the volunteer, patient advocacy group Kidney Contenders.

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