At the Annual Board Meeting in February, 2015 the Home Dialyzors United Board welcomed new board members and voted on officers. These members represent all facets of the dialysis community and are dedicated to working tirelessly for you:
Denise Eilers, BSN, RN, was a care partner to her late husband for 25 years and a former Director of Nursing and Nursing Home Administrator. The last 16 years she has been the Coordinator of Health Occupations and a nursing instructor at United Township Area Career Center in East Moline, IL. Presently, Denise is an adjunct instructor at a local junior college. She has also been Vice President of HDU for several years, and head of the Advocacy, Policy and Education committee.
Nieltje Gedney spent 20 years avoiding dialysis, and then found herself in the ER a year ago, crashing, and placed on emergency hemo. After starting home hemo, she felt great! Nieltje is no newcomer to advocacy work, just to dialysis, and is really enjoying her recent role as HDU’s Vice President and working on the Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Pat Colongione was one of the original founders of Home Dialyzors United and was also the caregiver to her husband Ralph for 8 years. Sadly, Ralph has passed, but Pat carries on her advocacy in his honor. Besides being Treasurer to HDU, she works part time at a local college, and is a travel agent, often organizing trips and cruises for dialyzors, as well as travel for the HDU Board, as needed.
Directors at Large:
Ben Rubeck We are glad to welcome Ben back after a brief illness, and look forward to contributing to our efforts with his wit and wisdom!
Amy Staples who recently joined our board was diagnosed with PKD at age 21. She is also the author of the blog Kidney Beans and Counting as well as the owner of Kidney BEANS a Facebook support group. The group focuses on offering love, support, and answers to the complex challenges of caring for and living with CKD or ESRD. We are delighted to have Amy and her talents helping us at HDU!
Ken Porter was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in May 2010. A year later he began dialysis. He started doing peritoneal dialysis in May 2011 and continued for about 2 1/2 years until it stopped working for him. In November 2013 he started doing home hemodialysis using the NxStage System One, with his wife as his care partner, doing short daily treatments. A year later he moved to every other day extended nocturnal treatments. He began doing more and more of the treatments himself until eventually he started doing his treatments completely solo.
Ken has had to overcome many obstacles to being self-sufficient with his dialysis. He suffers from peripheral neuropathy disfunction and has very limited use of his hands and feet. Through creativity and innovation he has made systems and tools that help him perform his own dialysis. It is Ken’s belief that most people who think they cannot do home dialysis really are quite capable with a little hard work and ingenuity.
Ken is married and has three beautiful daughters whom they homeschooled. His wife, after being his hemodialysis “nurse” for two years has decided to enroll in nursing school and has just completed her first semester with all A’s. It is Ken’s passion to help dialyzors have the best quality of life possible through getting great dialysis treatments in a manner that fits best with thier lifestyle and health goals.
Vanessa has been on dialysis for the past 17 years. And considers herself an expert. The last 11 years she has been doing home hemodialysis with Nxstage. It truly changed my life. Since being a home patient, not only was she able to have two wonderful boys via a surrogate but I was also able to start a language business for children and consult for patient advocacy issues.
“Being a patient has never been easy, but I choose to be optimistic and live life to its fullest no matter what obstacles are in the way.”
Vanessa loves sharing her story by speak with other patients, at conferences, and to professionals. She wants to inspire others to live life to the fullest. Dialysis does not have to be a death sentence. Anything is possible. She hopes to help those with ESRD have a better understanding of what to expect during the dialysis and transplant processes from a patient’s point of view. In addition, Vanessa is fluent in English and Spanish.
HDU is always looking for dedicated people who would like to contribute their talents to our efforts to improve the dialysis community. There are currently 2 Board Positions and a number of Committee openings available. Please submit a Board or Committee application (link) for consideration to http://homedialyzorsunited.org/hdu-membership-leadership-and-volunteer-opportunities to apply.