HDU Board of Directors

The Home Dialyzors United Board was updated on August 1, 2018. These members represent all facets of the dialysis community and are dedicated to working tirelessly for you:

It has been Nichole Jefferson‘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.

Vice President:
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.

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. 


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 role as HDU’s current Treasurer and past Vice President and working on the Policy and Advocacy Committee.




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 a past President and Vice President of HDU for several years, and head of the Advocacy, Policy and Education committee.


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 her life. Since being a home patient, not only was she able to have two wonderful boys via a surrogate but she 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 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