Mary Baliker, a Wisconsin kidney patient and transplant recipient who has been a volunteer with the National Kidney Foundation, will receive the Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award at the 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings in Boston.
“Mary decided to use her lifelong battle with chronic kidney disease as a catalyst to inspire others and in her words, become a fierce advocate for kidney patients,” Holly Kramer, NKF president, said in a press release. “Not only does the National Kidney Foundation owe her a debt, but so too do the millions of kidney patients in our country today. It is an honor to recognize such exceptional work.”
According to the release, the award was established in honor of Celeste Castillo Lee, a longtime chair of NKF’s patient and family council and an advocate for patient-centered care. The award is the highest honor given by the NKF to a kidney patient who exemplifies the foundation and Lee’s legacy of creating a patient-centered health care community.
Baliker was diagnosed with CKD at 9 years of age and received four kidney transplants, including one from her brother. Today, Baliker works as a health care consultant at Baliker Health Care in Middleton, Wisconsin, according to the release. Additionally, she works as an inspirational speaker, focusing on educating and informing attendees with stories of her personal journey.
“My own illness inspired me to become a fierce health care advocate,” Baliker said. “I’ve served in this role all of my adult life and have been grateful for the opportunity every day."
Awards will be presented at the 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings, which takes place May 8-12.