I am a dialysis nurse and have been working with kidney patients since 1993. I have met Lori Hartwell in 1997 and became aware that she was the author of the support group directory for kidney patients living in each geographical area of greater Los Angeles. I personally gave out many of these directories to my patients when they started dialysis therapy. My first real involvement with the Renal Support Network occurred in 1999 when I volunteered as a driver for the first Renal Teen Prom that took place in Notre Dame High School. This was a fantastic event and all teens had an opportunity to have a real prom experience and dance night out surrounded by their peers. This event helped me to realize how much this small patient-ran organization means for kidney community, and I wanted to become more involved. Since then, I have volunteered for every single Renal Teen Prom, and has gotten bigger and better each year for the past 15 years. A few years ago I took my teenage son with me to the prom and he had a great time as well. Besides the Prom, RSN focuses on education, support, and advocacy to ensure that all people with kidney disease live well and have hope in spite of chronic disease. They utilize all sources of communication and social media to reach out to the community, but you can always talk to a real person on the other end to receive support and that what makes them special!
I have been a board member of the Renal Support Network for over 3 years. I must say its been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Working in the capacity of Board member ive been blessed with helping to implement our mission which is helping those with chronic kidney disease. I doubt there are many non-profits who directly touch their customers like RSN does. From policy development and implementation, to fundraising, to allowing our clients to have opportunities for entertainment that they often don't have because of their health condition, RSN attempts to fill in the gaps in improving the lives of our customers. Lori Hartwell is not only a personal friend but a personal inspiration to me because of how she sets an example of living an extraordinary life despite great challenges.
I received a kidney transplant in 2007, after which I felt that I wanted to give something back to help other chronic kidney disease patients. I was not able to find any other support groups on my own, but a friend who had worked with Lori in the past told me about her, and eventually set up a meeting with Lori. In just hearing Lori talk about her past, I was very impressed with her knowledge, the extent of her involvement in helping others, as well as the overall purpose of RSN. Since then, I have progressively gotten more involved, and still am impressed with how Lori has spread the message and impact of RSN nationally, and the extent of her involvement in state and national advocacy for CKD patients overall. Her ceaseless effort and untiring ability to not only continue what has been done to help patients, but come up with new ideas to broaden the RSN message, continue to amaze me. I feel fortunate to have found RSN and Lori, and look forward to learning more about CKD, laws affecting patients, and how to help more. Attending the renal teen prom, which is provided to teens free of charge, is not only an impressive event, but very inspiring to watch these young people enjoy this event, as well as the volunteers who help put it on.
I first became aware of RSN when I was asked to participate in a podcast that Lori Hartwell and Stephen Furst presented. I was immediately impressed by their desire to inform and at the same time uplift. That was over four years ago. Since that time I've had my first impression affirmed over and over again on many occasions. As a patient myself, I can truly appreciate this; and i know that there are many others who feel the same way.
What a pleasure to add to these comments - which are all well deserved. Lori Hartwell the founder of this amazing network was my Primary Patient at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, when she was 7 and going through her many years of dialysis. She has provided a vehicle through www.RSNhope.org for patients and families to feel more empowered to take care of themselves during their journey and not feel so alone.
Some the many many ways this nonprofit operates it to offer patients to take charge of their lives through education - delivered in many fun and informative ways via, webcasts, websites,telephone contact,newsletter and one on one. RSN also empowers patients in public speaking so they can Lobby in Washington to improve Dialysis and transplant reimbursement,.
And how about the gathering of many many volunteers to run a successful Teen Prom for Renal Patients - now in its 15th year. With no cost to the Teens.
Did I mention she sold the "Crit Line" to dialysis centers - I was a Dialysis nurse at that time and that particular device changed the way we did dialysis in our unit. It was cutting edge and she knew it having been on the receiving end for so long. And boy could she sell it.
Having volunteered (among MANY) for the Prom since its inception I can attest to the true value to Teens that it offers and its all free for them.
Now I am privileged to be on the RSN Board. This amazing nonprofit continues its drive to educate, support and empower those who need (or need encouraging) to take part in what the Renal support Network has to offer.
I was introduced to Renal Support Network in 2001 by my transplant team. I attended a meeting where Lori Hartwell, the founder of RSN spoke and I was amazed by her journey with CKD and her mission to help educate others dealing with CKD. I began volunteering for RSN in 2004 and have personally seen how many lives have been touched and improved through RSN's many programs. In 2008 I became a board member to help assist RSN's vision by instilling health, happiness, and hope through education, advocacy, and awareness.... one person at a time.
This is an organization that helps kidney patients with information, support, and a connection with others sharing similar issues and challenges.
As a patient myself, I can tell you that I wish RSN existed when I first learned that I had renal failure.
I was introduced to The Renal Support Network about two years ago by a fellow kidney patient. I was immediately impressed by the scope of services they offered and their dedication, not to mention Lori Hartwell and her staff. They are the foremost organization in the renal field when it comes to patient support and education. And this is not just talk; I've seen the Renal Support Network in action. From the Teen Prom, "Who Lives",the highly regarded and eye opening play they produced, to the vast array of educational programs they offer, the Renal Support Network is without peer.
Review from Guidestar
As a kidney transplant patient of over 30 years, this organization has given me the ability to go out into the community and educate people on what is kidney disease really. Not just other people, like myself, but professionals and patients alike. RSN takes my hard won experience and puts it to good use. I have spoken to dialysis nurses at Loma LInda University as well as Renal Advantage, INC. I have also educated lay people, such as Rotary groups, on how to combat kidney disease for themselves and how to help people with kidney disease already. One of the best things is the HOPEline where patients can talk to other patients and get specific help on how to navigate through all the red tape that can be encountered to just letting them know we've been there too. Family members can call also, if they have questions and/or concerns.
Review from Guidestar
Having been a kidney patient for at least the last 5 years, this is the first and only patient oriented group that I have found for educating, supporting, and advocating for kidney patients, at all levels. The educational resources available for any stage of renal failure (pre-, dialysis, transplant) has been much more than I ever expected, and still amazes me as I continue to access more of its resources available on the website. The President and founder is a ball of energy, very inspiring, an excellent leader, a great advocate, and a fountain of excellent information on just about all matters dealing with chronic kidney failure, its treatments, and its impact on patients. They have excellent programs for educating patients, helping patients, and supporting patients.
Review from Guidestar
The Renal Support Network (RSN) was founded by my wife, Lori. She considered her own experiences with kidney disease and created programs that help people the way that she was helped and the way she needed to be helped. Her personal imprint united the group and encourages people with kidney disease to join. I watch them as I hold small roles from time to time at events that RSN puts on.
Review from Guidestar