Clare Brown with her daughter, Meara, at the Philadelphia Kidney Walk, Oct. 13. Photo provided by NKF.
By Lana Valente '19
When Arcadia University Adjunct Professor of English Clare Brown’s daughter, Meara, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at six months old, she decided that ignorance wasn’t an option for her family.
Meara has a horseshoe kidney, where the two kidneys are fused together, with only 30 percent function on her right side. At nine months old, she underwent a seven-hour surgery to correct a problem with the ureter tube leading to the right kidney. Now, Meara is the healthiest she has ever been and thriving as a typical 5-year-old.
“I’m an educator by trade, and I felt like I knew nothing about this disease,” said Brown. “No one in our family had it. We didn’t know anyone with it. So, I did what I always do and jumped into educating myself, and that’s how we got connected with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).”
Since then, the Brown family has been dedicated to raising not only awareness, but funds to support programs and services. Brown noted that while her family attends and supports a variety of NKF events, the Philadelphia Kidney Walk is their key fundraising event each year; over the past four years, the event has helped them raise $20,000. At this year’s Kidney Walk, on Oct. 13, Brown spoke about her family’s struggles and triumphs with kidney disease.
“We all have had times in our lives where we have needed a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and a hand to hold,” said Brown. “For our family the National Kidney Foundation has been that outstretched hand over these past four years.”
Services and program supported by NKF and the Philadelphia Kidney Walk include early detection of the disease, education about nephrosis as a whole, patient support, and research.