National Kidney Month: New alliance aids firefighters in need of kidney transplants

April 8, 2024

New partnership formed to support kidney transplants for firefighters and their families

In an effort to address the critical need for kidney transplants within the first responder community, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and its affiliate, the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE), have announced a new partnership with Kidneys for Communities.

This collaboration aims to empower first responder communities nationwide, offering support to the families of fallen firefighters and others within the firefighting community who are battling end-stage kidney disease.

The initiative, known as Expand Your Legacy, is a campaign devised by NFFF/FRCE and the Knox Company to raise awareness among firefighters about the significant impact of becoming a living kidney donor.

Expand Your Legacy campaign gains momentum

The Expand Your Legacy campaign collaborates with Kidneys for Communities, a national community-directed living kidney donation program, to facilitate the process of living kidney donations.

These donations are intended to support families of fallen firefighters and members of the firefighting community suffering from end-stage kidney disease.

Victor Stagnaro, CEO of NFFF, expressed the foundation’s commitment to this cause: “Expand Your Legacy began as an awareness campaign to recognize the courageous and compassionate acts of those who donate their lifesaving kidney.

“Now, through our collaborative work with Kidneys for Communities, we can extend a helping hand to those in the First Responder community who are in desperate need of a kidney transplant—connecting them with people who want to expand their legacy beyond their already significant contributions to public safety by donating their kidney.”

The critical challenge of kidney disease

Kidney disease, a leading cause of death in the U.S., affects an estimated 35.5 million people, with approximately 90% unaware of their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The collaboration between Expand Your Legacy and the Kidneys for First Responders initiative aims to reduce the waiting time for life-saving kidney transplants for firefighters and their families.

Neal Zipser, industry affairs manager for Knox, highlighted the urgency of this initiative: “Combining Expand Your Legacy with the Kidneys for First Responders initiative gives us the momentum we need to shorten the critical waiting time for firefighters who have served their communities, and for their family members who need a lifesaving kidney transplant.”

FSJA Comment

The partnership between the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the First Responder Center for Excellence, and Kidneys for Communities provides a direct pathway to lifesaving transplants and fosters a spirit of community and support within the first responder network.

This initiative underscores the importance of collaboration and awareness in addressing health crises, highlighting the potential for community-driven efforts to make a tangible difference in the lives of those who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.

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