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The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) is very disappointed with Wanda Sykes’ comedic comments regarding kidney failure and Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondent Dinner over the weekend. While Ms. Sykes’ comments were most likely made in a light-hearted manner, hundreds of thousands of kidney disease patients and their loved ones do not see kidney failure as a laughing matter. Nearly 400,000 Americans are receiving dialysis as a life saving treatment for kidney failure and 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which means they are at risk for losing their kidney function. In addition, 20 million Americans are at risk for CKD and do not even know it.  
There is no cure for kidney disease, only treatment options which include dialysis and kidney transplantation. Dialysis is a treatment that cleans the blood and removes wastes and excess water from the body, work that is normally done by healthy kidneys. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 102,000 people are currently on the waiting list for a new organ – 84,000 are waiting on a new kidney. 
Living with kidney failure is physically and mentally challenging on the patient and their family members, and should not be wished upon anyone, no matter how different their political views. While Ms. Sykes statement was poorly crafted and offended kidney patients nationwide, her presentation has generated much needed conversation and awareness of this disease that silently affects millions of Americans. Our hope is that this situation will bring about more kidney health education focusing on the physical, emotional and social impact kidney disease has on patients and their family members. 


AAKP is the voluntary, patient organization, which for 40 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of fellow kidney patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.