HDU Board of Directors

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, RDenise EilersN, 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.



Vice President:

Vanessa EvansVanessa Evans 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.


AmyAmy 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!


Nieltje GedneyNieltje 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.




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!


ken HeadshotKen 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.


Nichole Jefferson It has been Nichole’s personal mission to tell her story and promote awareness. She was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in October 2003. At that time, not only was she unaware of what that meant; she also did not know she was a high-risk factor for developing the disease. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, she decided peritoneal dialysis (PD) was the best option and utilized PD for a few years until she needed to switch to hemodialysis.

She received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor on June 12, 2008, but at the time, she didn’t realize it was simply another form of treatment and not a cure. Today, Nichole is waiting for a new transplant.

Nichole has worked with many advocacy groups on Capitol Hill and has provided her personal experience with ESRD to leaders in the field of nephrology. She tries to express the feelings of those who are unable or unwilling to speak for themselves.


Yolanda Howard began her health care career as a medical assistant, and dialysis technician 18 years ago. It was there that she met her husband, who began dialysis at the age of 22. Because of clinic policy, she left dialysis, a job she loved, because she loved him more.

She went back to school full time to obtain a nursing degree, and her husband received a kidney transplant.  They got their lives back, even opened up a barbeque restaurant, her husband’s dream.  Then New Year’s Day, 2012, his body rejected the kidney. He started dialysis again, in center 3 days a week, and on the days off he barely did anything. The restaurant closed.

A year ago his nephrologist offered them home dialysis. They went through two weeks of training and now her husband has gotten his life back. He is working full time, contributing to the family, and they are a team; their relationship has grown even stronger.

Currently, Yolanda is teaching a Certified Nursing Assistant program, and works weekends at a local nursing home.  She is excited to join the Board of the Home Dialyzors United as she truly believes understands how entire family dynamics change when a member has ESRD. 

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 https://homedialyzorsunited.org/hdu-membership-leadership-and-volunteer-opportunities  to apply.


Treasurer in Memoriam:
We sadly announce the October 11, 2017 death of our Treasurer Pat Colongione