Calling Attention To A ‘Silent Killer’

By Glen Hayashida
Wednesday - September 16, 2009 Share

By Glen Hayashida, CEO
National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii

A silent killer is taking the lives of our family and friends. One in seven kama’aina, or 156,000 people, suffer from chronic kidney disease.

Twenty years have passed since a group of volunteers with passion, interest and knowledge started a nonprofit to help bring awareness and support to people who suffered from kidney failure. The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii has grown from an all-volunteer organization to one with paid staff and an interactive Web site,

When I first came to the NKFH in 1995, it lacked a great deal of resources but possessed a great deal of energy, excitement and passion. We began to build momentum by bringing in programs from our national organization and eventually developed our own local programs.

Our crowning achievement is the GFR Initiative, which is now standard in health evaluations. It marked the first comprehensive public health approach to identifying and classifying people in various stages of chronic kidney disease. The measurement is the only statewide effort of its kind in the nation and gives people early warnings of the disease, which can then be slowed or even stopped.

Volunteers for the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii gather blood samples to screen residents for kidney disease

Raising awareness and money are key components to building on our 20 years of good work. We are prioritizing basics, looking to cut costs, contacting donors and looking at all grant opportunities.

Our Virtual Gala is a perfect example. It was clear that the business community could not support the number of special dinners they had in the past, but still wanted to help. Out of that desire came the first Virtual Gala, complete with sponsorship and live auction. (Please visit us at for an exciting online auction this month and in late November!)

Whether you have been a supporter, volunteer, participant, donor, board member or staff member, I thank you for 20 wonderful years in Hawaii. The battle will continue for decades to come, and we need your continued support to keep our neighbors healthy.


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