WASHINGTON—A Raleigh man is this year's national Hero of Hope for the American Kidney Fund.
Wednesday night, kidney patient Eric Dolby received that award at a gala in Washington.
“It's great to get the honor. I really appreciate the recognition. It just does something for spirit. It encourages me. It engages to do more and greater things for the American Kidney Fund because they've helped so many people, as well as myself,” said Dolby.
Dolby spends 18-hours a week hooked up to his home dialysis machine, which filters waste products out of his blood.
“Eric was working in Houston, [Texas] as a nurse when he was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to go on dialysis. He reached what I think he would call bottom. He was homeless. And yet, he applied to the American Kidney Fund for assistance and receiving it, he was able and continues now dealing with the disease so effectively,” said president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund LaVarne Burton.
Dolby has already lost more than a dozen aunts and uncles to kidney disease and 12 cousins have also been diagnosed.
“Because kidney disease runs so deeply in my family, one of the things I want people to understand is the causes of kidney disease. Hypertension and diabetes are leading causes,” said Dolby.
As a Hero of Hope, Dolby wants to keep kidney disease from hurting other families.
“I don't consider myself a hero,” said Dolby.
In addition to lobbying congress, Dolby puts on educational seminars about kidney disease. He said he also plans to write a book and develop a website to raise awareness and try to prevent people from developing kidney failure.