Dear National Kidney Foundation of Utah

Thank you to all the donors who made my scholarship possible.  I am so grateful you saw my potential and for giving me this chance.  I appreciate all the work you do in asking for donations, so someone like me can make something of themselves in spite of kidney failure.  I appreciate all the back and forth that went on to pay for my tuition and some for housing.  I appreciate the patience you had for this process.  It is always a fear of mine; not having had enough money (because of medical expenses) to spare for school and technical training.  My medical bills are unreal, which as a young person, is hard.  It really lifted a weight off my shoulders having one less expense (tuition/housing).  It might not have even been possible without the scholarship.  I have been stressed out starting school soon, but I am so grateful to you.  Your support will help me enjoy my classes just a little bit more!  Thanks again for all you do, and to all the people who donate their car to Kidney Kars who make it possible!  I can now continue to work to pay for bills AND receive higher education/training so one day I can work a legit job.  Sending my best to all of you, for your kindness to me!

-B Jorgensen

No more imunosupressants?

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/new-kidney-transplant-approach-eliminate-need-immune-drugs-report-find-rcna33833?fbclid=IwAR0EP0dv4HCP9yNS4WaNyQin5KmzkH0Aa-2-d0oy3kWQnxt5KSYN22AcY-U

I read an one of the most exciting things I’ve read in a long time on NBC news about kidney (and organ) transplantation!  It’s about a new technique — called a dual immune/solid organ transplant that was performed on two children who received kidney transplants at Stanford Medical Center. It involves a stem cell transplant that trains the immune system not to reject a donated kidney (or organ). The protocol (used recently at Stanford) isn’t new, but its success is.  This technique could replace life long suppression of the immune system by taking immunosuppressive drugs and steroids so the body’s immune system won’t reject a donated kidney.  In essence, the donated kidney could last indefinitely inside of a recipient; or at least much longer–and without pharmaceutical immunosuppressant. It could reduce the number of times each transplant recipient might need a kidney (due to rejection).  In each case, a parent donated stem cells taken from bone marrow, as well as a kidney. The end goal of transplantation is achieve “immune tolerance,” meaning that the body doesn’t view a donated organ as foreign a threat to the body. We are moving much closer to this reality.  This is amazing news for the over 90,000 Americans currently awaiting a life saving organ (80% of which need a kidney).  The advances in kidney / organ transplantation in the last 30 years is truly amazing science.

Peter Quaife of the Kinks on “The Ligher Side of Dialysis”

The bassist for the The Kinks was on kidney dialysis for 11 years?

Peter Quaife / The Kinks

I’ve worked for the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho for a long time.  So today I was clearing our shelves of dusty, outdated kidney patient support and services pamphlets (that are all now available online) when I ran into this little ditty.

How did I miss this?

I had worked for the Kidney Foundation of Utah for 7 years when Peter Quaife started dialysis treatments.  I’d worked here for 12 the year he ultimately passed away from kidney failure.  I’m kind of devastated.  I thought I knew all the famous people who were on dialysis or who’d had a kidney transplant (Gary Coleman, George Lopez, Selina Gomez, Nick Cannon, Tracy Morgan, Sarah Hyland).  But somehow I’d missed Peter Quaife, The Kink’s bassist. I can sing at least 7 of their top 10 songs by heart like every other kid who lived through the 1970’s.  I looked over all his sketches, and read each joke thinking about the artist, a former rock star, sitting on dialysis letting the difficulty of that, fuel his wicked humor.  The English are so much better at the ‘stiff upper lip’ and ‘self effacing’ humor than Americans to begin with.  But I found myself really admiring the spirit of rebellious observation in which he drew cartoons and jokes about some really awful realities of dialysis.  Dark humor is always the best humor in my book.  I think that’s what makes it so delicious.  I’m on the hunt now for Volume 2, which I guess I’ll have to find on abebooks.com if all else fails.  But I am sad that I missed this chapter.  I am a little younger than Mr. Quaife was when he went on dialysis.  No one wants to go on dialysis, or have their kidneys fail.  There are a lot of depressed people on dialysis trying to make the most out of life, and mourning the life they had ‘before’ dialysis.  I don’t know about you, but being a freaking rock star, like LEGIT British Invasion rock star, would be a hard thing to mourn the loss of.  I’m certain he’d settle way down by the time his kidneys were failing.  But wow.  He’d been bigger than life, toured the world –one of the hippest cats out of England.  And kidney failure still found him.

Famous People Do Their Best

We hardly even heard about George Lopez and Selena Gomez having kidney failure. They didn’t seem to miss a beat between kidney failure and kidney transplant. Unless you follow them on Instagram or something, who knew? Other kidney patients, that’s who.  But no famous person on dialysis, to my knowledge,  ever sat down to write a book (and really marinate) about how much dialysis sucks.  And then also make it funny. So today, 12 years too late I’m honoring the memory of Peter Quaife “He Really Got me Now.”  So I’m sharing my personal favorite sketches from The Lighter Side of Dialysis, Volume 1.  I’ll keep you updated when I find  Volume 2.

Salty joke

He’s making fun of medieval blood letting. But ironically, the enzyme in leeches is actually how dialysis works.

Bananas are not very ap-peeling.

A Special Tribute to Senator Orrin G. Hatch, National Kidney Foundation of Utah’s first Honorary Chairman

As Honorary Chairman of the Board of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho, we honored Senator Hatch with the Gift of Life Award in 1988. He helped craft legislation that made kidney transplant and immunosuppressive drugs accepted therapies covered by private insurance and Medicare at a time people could either afford to pay out of pocket or could not receive these miracles of medical advancement. Here is an excerpt from the Program that is particularly relevant to all those who suffer kidney disease: “A night to honor Senator Orrin G. Hatch for his leadership in the US Senate establishing the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Act of 1983, his efforts in furthering funding for ongoing accessibility of immunosuppressive drugs, his strong commitment to biomedical research, his leadership in initiating and supporting health care legislation, continuing advocacy of home health care services. We salute you Senator Hatch for your compassion and dedication to better health care for all Americans.”

As Ronald Regan said of Senator Hatch on the occasion of his award: “Orrin is one of the most responsible, hard-working members of the US Senate. He lives right, he thinks right, and he cares deeply about the people who sent him to Washington. He is a representative the people of Utah can be proud of.”

This photo was sent to us yesterday by one of our NKFU&I staff members during a private tour of the United States Capitol Building. We are grateful to remember one of our first NKF of Utah champions because of what he did first and foremost, to promote and support organ donation and kidney transplantation as biomedical pioneer champion.

How to donate a car in Utah

Dialysis Dad chosen for “Kidney Christmas Family!”

The National Kidney Foundation of Utah has chosen our local Utah “Dialysis Christmas Family.”

Each year the NKF Utah asks local social workers for nominations of deserving dialysis patient families who need help during the holidays.
We love being able to play Santa by bringing some Christmas cheer to those surviving rough times, and kidney health challenges.
Dialysis Dad’s wife decided her husband’s kidney health situation was a deal breaker, and she left him and their 3 children earlier in 2021. Dialysis Dad has taken on the weight of the world with patience and grit while managing to care for his kids; and go to dialysis 5 days a week. He dialyzes in Utah Valley and is currently registered for technical school in the spring to update his career skills in light of his situation.
Dialysis Dad could use help with winter coats and boots for the children, toys or any other gifts for the children.
If you have something to contribute for Christmas to his family he has:
– son, aged 7
– daughters aged 5 and 1
You may call us (801) 226-5111 so we can give you sizes and details regarding the children.
Or if you would like to contribute to their Christmas fund, please visit:

towKars.org Utah’s Original and #1 Choice in Charity Car Donation

The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho established one of the country’s first ‘cars for charity’ operations in the country, and remains Utah’s #1 most trusted choice.

You know those small turn of the century businesses who built customer loyalty, offered incredible customer service, and met specific community needs with their business model?  For example, it’s like those mercantile businesses in southern towns. For a century or more that store was the one place everyone for miles around shopped for their groceries, clothing/cloth, housewares and tools.  Then along with the connection of the railroad, and the development of the mail system came the Sears Catalogue.  The People could now shop by mail order. It was a revolution that put many, many small town mercantile out of business — or those who adapted and rolled with the punches, improved their inventory to micro perform by not having to warehouse or manage certain inventory that could be received by mail ordered. They’d keep their inventory local, fresh okra? Yes.  Bottled butter beans, obviously. Cheerwine, without a doubt.  They honed the art of MICRO performance suited to just their own community needs.  Those small mercantile groups, who had their finger on the pulse of their own community for 50 0r more years then were challenged again with the onset of franchise operations.  By 1926 the first Sears store were starting to be built everywhere.  Now the local mercantile shop had real competition.  But then what happened around 80 year later would close up every mom-and-pop small business across America: Internet commerce.  After more than 100 years, Sears pulled up stakes everywhere because they resisted internet buying.  Sears counted on that brand loyalty for over 100 years, and they lost the bet along with K-Mart, and others.

Charity car donation is a lot like that, we’ve had to change and adapt.   We were one of the first 5 cars-for-charity operations. We built our model after a group in Texas who came up with this genius idea of turning ‘One man’s junk into another man’s tax deduction.’  As a girl who was a mechanic assistant (to her dad) since the age of 6, Kidney Cars donation was a job tailored to a specific skill set which felt, I alone possessed.  I spent years combing swap-meets and wrecking yards with my dad for parts, I spent many hours over open pans of gasoline with a wire brush cleaning up gunky car parts (in case you wonder what’s wrong with me), and using my tiny child fingers to reach into the tight places of a motor with a wrench to get to the spark plugs.  We never had less than 8 vehicles sitting around the property (some were ours, most were my dad’s customers).  But I grew up loathing the junk yard that was my East County San Diego home.  When I went to college, I was hired as a research assistant at the Brigham Young University Library working on critically important Jewish-American literature projects which required yearly grant renewals.  I became pretty good at reporting with great care, the work that was being done, and helping the Humanities Department to obtain the grants necessary to finish the work.  It was deeply satisfying work, and I immersed myself in the materials celebrating the country’s most well known authors and screenwriters in American history.  I am so grateful, I am at a loss for words to describe what those years of experience did for me, or to say how those books and ideas influenced me for good.   After college, a friend who knew I wrote grants told me I should work for his mom ‘for the summer.’ She was starting a car donation program.  Imagine my shocking realization at the convergence between my past life as a mechanic assistant and present life as a grant writer/ fundraiser.  Can you imagine? But there it was, a job tailor made for me.  I had illusions of grandeur of clearing out every house in the country that looked like mine growing up; littered with derelict Volkswagens and Ford trucks. The heavens presented me a way to clean up every community of junk cars leaking their oil and antifreeze into the bare dirt where they’d been parked for 3 years.  This is where Kidney Cars was born.  The key was the free towing and the tax deduction.  Keep in mind, that up until around 1990 it would cost you $30-80 to hire a wrecking yard to come get your old car.  The world changed because of charity car donation.  We created a program where the charity would pick up your car for FREE, and then hand you a tax deduction (often times better and easier than trying to sell the broken down car yourself). I was armed with the goods to make this happen and Utah picked up what I was laying down. No state in America is as generous as Utahns when it comes to charitably taking care of their own. We have received a letter from every Utah governor since 1990 thanking us for helping Utahns in a way government never could. We have partnered with other charities to get the jobs done: hospital systems, social workers, groups that promote organ donation and who scour centralized medical records to find those at highest risk of kidney disease through AI.  Kidney Cars has provided an incredibly long and smooth ride, but we’ve easily racked up 350,000 metaphorical miles on that engine. It’s time for an overhaul.

Times change. After 30 years of experiencing the delirious generosity Utah Kidney Cars donors and building a brand Utahans could trust, came the competitor interlopers: Out of state 3rd party  operators and out-of-state charity advertisements.  They advertise for car donations in Utah from New York, New Jersey and California but the money doesn’t stay in Utah.  Sadly the funding is not disseminated TO UTAHNS.  There have even been outright fraud operators, saying they were “charities,” but were handing out vacation hotel stays instead of tax receipts. Who knows where the money goes? There were BIG businesses interloping charity donations through the pay-per-car managing of car donations.  Yes, it’s just like the mom-and-pop stores being driven out of business around 1910 by bigger operators. Unfortunately, we built such an internet friendly model for car donation, but too few people do enough online research to understand that out of state operators (where charity is concerned) literally rob the neediest Utahans of charity funding: housing, medical car, kidney transplant costs, transportation to and from dialysis.   That’s how we started the Utahns helping Utahns campaign.  The idea is, sometimes bigger isn’t better.  Bigger sometimes mean sharing the charity dollars with businesses not patients. Many smaller charities have turned to these 3rd party businesses to run their car donating programs.  While it allows the charity to focus on their charitable mission, they lose up to 40% of the money earned on every car donation.  By using the local web address www.towKars.org to make a Kidney Kars donation, 100% stays in Utah and Idaho to help locals.  While some of our partners must rely on 3rd part car companies to manage their donations, we still do it the old fashioned way by answering our own phone.  That way, we’re not paying someone else to do it.  That way, we give the most amount of money possible, directly to the kidney patients in Utah and Idaho who need it the most.

Unlike what happened to small businesses because of the advent of internet shopping, car donation is actually better at mico-performing for locals.  Higher accountability, and providing funding to the medically needy in Utah and Idaho communities. Where charity car donation is concerned, bigger is not better.  Bigger means, less money goes to the charity, and more money goes to the businesses that run the charity program.  Kidney Kas has resisted this change by remaining hyper-local in order to provide maximum charity funding, without needing to a 3rd party doing the work. We do our own work. So research before donating a car–sometimes a slicker website, and 24 hour phone operators are convenient, but they rob the charitable work of the money intended to fund the mission.  Please keep this in mind when considering who to donate your car to.  When you call our (801) 226-5111 number or visit www.towKars.org your call/donation lands in Provo.  So if your call doesn’t land in Provo, it’s a NO GO.  See what I did there?  We’re in our Provo, Utah office 9-5/ M-F (801) 226-5111. Free 48 hour towing and  the HIGHEST tax deduction that also keeps the donation funds local, to help Utah and Idaho Kidney patients who need it most.

The time your daughter got a BFA in graphic design because she grew up doing all the Kidney Kars/ TowKars.org graphics

Special thanks to my daughter for these designs to help promote towKars.org  for the December 2021 year-end Kidney Kars promotion of the NKF Utah & Idaho.

For the past 10 years she has  volunteered by taking the high quality photos at our yearly events (every Kidney Walk, Golf Tournament, and Kidney Camp). She has volunteered to run the art therapy sessions at the youth camps, done a lot of heavy lifting (boxes of t-shirts, banners and TONS of bottled water). She and her brother have traveled long distance through Idaho and Utah with their mama to meet hundreds and thousands of kidney folks over the years.  We know and deeply admire the people we serve. We are grateful for their examples of emotional and physical resilience to fight for their lives.  We are always enriched by their attitudes and friendships.  Fulfilling a charitable mission to serve Utah and Idaho kidney patients requires volunteers year after year. To use a phrase: IT TAKES A VILLAGE.  I am grateful part of the village is my own kids.  They haven’t always come willingly because teenagers have their own lives. But they have grown up seeing how Kidney Cars donations are a vital, life-blood key to our ability to generate the funds given to the neediest people who require: expensive medical care, hundreds of miles of transportation per week, stable housing, and specialized kidney nutrition (just to stay alive).  We wish each patient who qualifies for a transplant to get one. We wish for better medical and data driven technologies to one day end, or at least delay the onset of kidney failure.  But in the meantime, while we serve those with the greatest needs:  We’re grateful for the generosity of Utah and Idaho Kidney Kars donors who donate their cars to fund National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho services.  We are grateful to the social workers who help us find kidney patient in greatest need and in some cases answer their prayers.  Kidney Kars donation save and preserve lives.  I am glad my children see how wonderfully generous and resilient people can be when we try.  So if you have an old car to donate, and you want your donation to benefit Utah and Idaho kidney patients, I am proud to say there is one clear choice: www.towKars.org  Utah’s #1 original car donation since 1990. Your charitable car donation is the ‘horsepower’ behind our mission.   Donate before December 31st for a 2021 tax deduction.  Thank you!

Thank you for the Kidney Patient Scholarship Aid

Dear Deen Vetterli and the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho,

I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost gratitude for Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship.  Over the course of my time at Brigham Young University, I have encountered many challenges that many students my age are not required to experience. Such as, protecting my health, and that of my newly transplanted kidney (a gift from my mom) due to Covid. It has  been an unanticipated challenge.  However, I have been able to attend many of my pre-med classes online, thanks to your scholarship. I have received many blessings, not only from my mother for giving me life, but for again giving my life by donating her kidney.  The emotional support of my family, and the financial scholarship aid from the National Kidney Foundation of Utah. Not only has this assistance allowed me to prioritize my new health, post kidney transplant, but has given me meaningful opportunity to seek meaningful and substantial opportunities to connect with others, volunteer, and participate in school in a way I hadn’t imagined when Covid first began circulating in 2020.  Thank you for allowing me to be of service at the Kidney Walk and to give the blankets our family made together as a project, to those still on dialysis.  Thank you so much for all of the work you do.  I know it takes many Kidney Kars donations to help as many kidney patients and families as you do.

Sincerely,

KH (Kidney Transplant recipeint, Sept 2018)

Why donate your Kidney Car in December 2021

Why donate your Kidney Car in December?

Aside from the obvious (snow-towing & parking violation situations) it’s also the end of the tax year.  Charitable car donations made in Utah and Idaho before December 31st will provide you with a 2020 tax write off. So if you’ve got a car on the street or in the driveway you’re not using, put it into gear for the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho kidney patient programs by donating to www.towKars.org or call locally 9-5/M-F at (801) 226-5111  Donating in December assures more help to Utah and Idaho kidney patients during the critical holiday and winter months.  When it’s hard for patients to afford both heat and medications, your car donation provides us with the funding to help them.

What about the free towing?

  • it’s FREE
  • takes as little as 24-48 hours (or more if you need time to get it ready!)
  • you do NOT have to be there when the car’s towed

What about the tax deduction?

The IRS allows donors to claim one of two values as the deduction.  Obviously newer model vehicles with lower miles will give you the best tax deduction. But we also accept any vehicle with a clear title, 4 inflated tires and a complete engine/transmission (doesn’t need to work, it just needs to be IN THE CAR).

  1. Up to $499 (generalized tax receipt)
  2. The Car’s actual selling price

So you can claim either the $499 or the car’s actual selling price, whichever is highest.  The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho is required to notify you of the car’s selling price over $500 so you can make the choice how much to claim.

Who benefits from my towKars.org Kidney Kars donation?

If you use the local Utah & Idaho kidney kars website towKars.org to donate, 38% goes directly to serve over 3,000 Utah and Idaho kidney dialysis patients through Medical Financial Aid.  The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho provides aid to help patients with: medical bills, medications, rent, utilities, transportation, medical kidney nutrition supplements, and dental bills.  Most of the financial aid is provided to patients trying to become eligable for the kidney transplant waiting list.  This requires patients to pay off medical bills, have 100% updated dental work (any cavity or infection can cause a donated kidney to reject), and keep the patient in stable housing.  The medical kidney nutrition is vital, since it allows the patients blood work to show healthy ranges of nutrients important to sustain a donated kidney (iron, oxygen, calcium, etc).

 

Make sure to donate locally to ensure maximum use of your donation.

Most car donation programs are not local to Utah and Idaho, and do not benefit Utah or Idaho patients.  So donating to towKars.org assures you maximum accountability that your donation is going where we say it’s going.  Donations made locally help local friends and family.

 

Make your car a Kidney Car, a car that saves lives.

M-F/ 9-5 (801) 226-5111 or www.towKars.org