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Awareness Calendar
Do you know of a worthy cause we should feature, send link and short description to:

Click on the month for detailed information on the causes.


Birth Defects Prevention

Cataract Awareness

Cervical Cancer Awareness

Glaucoma Awareness

Volunteer Blood Donors

Thyroid Awareness

Healthy Weight Awareness

Folic Acid Awareness


National Wear Red Day

Organ Donor Day

Burn Awareness Week

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

American Heart Month

Wise Health Consumer Month

Children's Dental Health Month

National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week


American Diabetes Alert Day

National Kidney Month

National MS Month

American Red Cross Month

YMCA Healthy Kids Day

Save Your Vision Week

Mental Retardation Month

National Patient Safety Awareness Week

National Poison Prevention Week

World Tuberculosis Day


Earth Day

National Volunteer Week

World Health Day

National Autism Awareness Month

Cancer Control Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Sexually Transmitted Disease Month

Foot Health Month


MDA-ALS Awareness

Lupus Awareness

Food Allergy Awareness Week

Women's Health Week

Buckle Up America Week

World No Tobacco Day

National Arthritis Month

Stroke Awareness Month

High Blood Pressure Month

Hemochromatosis Screening Awareness Month

Sight Saving Month


Dystonia Awareness Week

National Headache Awareness Week

Career Nurse Assistants Day

National Men's Health Week

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

HIV Testing Day

Vision Research Month

Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

National Aphasia Awareness Month

National Scleroderma Awareness Month

Causes That Inspire

Maximizing Media
for the Walk for PKD presents the first of what will become a regular feature on our website - Guest Editorials. We invite organizations to submit articles related to one of our categories of content - Causes, Ideas, People and Resources.

Our first Guest Editorial is from Suzie Lettunich and it highlights the many contributions of Seattle's prestigious advertising firm Horton, Lantz & Low (HL2) to the Polycystic Kidney Disease cause. Suzie was featured as a "Person Behind the Cause," for PKD at Fundraisers.Com last October and we're pleased to include her insights into a cause close to her heart.

HL2 rallies the country to Walk for PKD

On September 18 and 19, the PKD Foundation will host the annual Walk for PKD to raise awareness and funds for research in Polycystic Kidney Disease. As the pro-bono agency of record for the organization, HL2 created a kit of marketing materials to promote the event in more than 40 cities across the country.

"The Walk for PKD is organized entirely by volunteers who live in different parts of the country," explained Suzie Lettunich, HL2's associate creative director. "Many are organizing a Walk event for the very first time. So these tools are a huge value to the national effort."

Horton Lantz & Low created the Walk for PKD logo, registration forms, posters and public service announcements for radio and TV. HL2 also negotiated new web technology allowing participants to register online, start a team, make donations, build a personal home page, email friends and family, and track fund-raising progress and much more.

"PKD is very under-funded compared to less-prevalent diseases. And lack of awareness has a direct affect on their ability to raise funds," said Suzie. "That's why this work is so critical to the Foundation and so meaningful for the agency."

Guest Editorial

It's more than personal - It's critical.
Join us in the annual Walk for PKD across the country, Sept. 18-19

by Suzie Lettunich

As a patient with polycystic kidney disease, an active volunteer with the PKD Foundation, and someone who works in advertising and marketing, I get a lot of the same questions:

"Why hasn't anyone ever heard of PKD?"

"What are we doing to raise awareness and funds?"

As we prepare for the annual Walk for PKD, I wanted to provide some answers. In part, they explain why the Walk for PKD is so critical to the PKD Foundation and their mission to one day put an end to this devastating disease.

A brief background on PKD

PKD is the most common, genetic life-threatening disease affecting 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million people worldwide. PKD affects more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, hemophilia and sickle cell anemia - combined.

Polycystic means "many cysts" form on each kidney, ultimately causing renal failure. There is no treatment and no cure, with dialysis and transplant as the only options to prolong life. The PKD Foundation employs just 20 people in Kansas City, MO - with the remainder of support coming from volunteers located in major cities across the country.

Raising awareness and funds for PKD research

Raising awareness (and funds) takes a lot of time and money that most non-profit organizations, like the PKD Foundation, simply do not have. It takes a great deal of repetition to even get on the radar of the unassuming public, who are not seeking out your message.

For example, think of the car you drive. How many ads did you see on TV or in print before you had heard of this car? How many brochures or Web sites did you visit? Did any friends recommend it? It's possible you may not have noticed the ads, or this particular car, at all - despite the fact that most car manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to raise awareness of their automobiles.

If those kinds of deep pockets can't raise awareness, how can we.a humble group of well-intended staff and volunteers?

The power in numbers

Stretching to Prepare for the Walk

The Walk for PKD is our single greatest opportunity to pool our resources - both staff and volunteer - to raise awareness and funds for PKD. By hosting the event in major cities across the country, all on the same weekend, we increase our chances of securing media coverage. We build on the synergy and camaraderie that comes with a large-scale event. We also maximize administrative resources on a single weekend, which saves hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars - which, in turn, goes to PKD research.

Since 2001, the Walk for PKD has grown from a small, grass-roots event to a unified, national effort with marketing and administrative support from the PKD Foundation. Thanks to the amazing work done by volunteers across the country, we continue to build momentum.

We're looking to double what we raised last year

In 2003, the national Walk for PKD effort raised just less than $500,000. This year, we have set a lofty goal of doubling that amount. While our aspirations may be a bit more optimistic than realistic - we are working hard to make it happen. The key, of course, is to look outside the immediate PKD family - by reaching outside our circle of influence.

This year more than years past, we are looking to our communities to enlist friends, family members, colleagues and even mere acquaintances to join us in the Walk for PKD.

In fact, that's how I first encountered Fundraisers.Com. I was seeking ideas, opportunities and avenues to spread the word about PKD and raise funds for research. A simple Web search led me to this site where I have since spent time sharing ideas and success stories with other nonprofit organizations that have similar needs and challenges.

We also have increased the number of marketing materials available to support the Walk for PKD effort. All of the creative services were donated, so we are anxious to see benefits from that investment which includes: posters, registration forms, public service announcements for radio and TV, and press packets to generate media interest. Also new this year is a highly robust Web site that makes it easy to register online, create individual Web pages, build teams, make online donations, keep track of fundraising goals, and even send emails to everyone on your list to enlist their participation and financial support.

Mark your calendar for the third weekend in September!

Every Walk for PKD event will be held the third weekend in September (either Sat/Sept. 18 or Sun/Sept. 19). More than 40 events will take place across the country. The Walk for PKD is a fun, community event with prizes for the individual and team that raise the most funds. And you'll often find food and fanfare at the finish line, complete with goody bags for each participant.

To meet our fundraising goal, we need the power of many individuals coming together. By setting our goals high and working hard to reach them, we can make a huge difference in raising funds and awareness for PKD.

For more information on how to volunteer for the Walk for PKD, please call 1-800-PKD-CURE.. To start a team, register for the Walk for PKD, or to make a donation, please visit:

Suzie Lettunich is a patient with PKD. She is the coordinator of the PKD Foundation - Seattle Chapter and a member of the Chapter Advisory Committee. She served as chair of the Seattle Walk for PKD the past two years and currently serves as the chair of the national Walk for PKD effort. Suzie is a copywriter and associate creative director at Horton Lantz & Low -providing marketing and advertising solutions for clients such as Microsoft, Vail Resorts, Seattle's Best Coffee and others, including pro-bono services for the PKD Foundation.

PDK Experts Offer Hope
by DeWayne Lumpkin

There have been some very promising breakthroughs in PKD research in the last decade. Family histories have led to a greater understanding of the genetic nature of the disease. Genes directly related to both forms of PKD have been isolated and are undergoing clinical analysis in animal and human studies. Encouragement can be found in the answers to the question: Is there any hope of finding a cure for PKD?

Our expert panel includes: Dan Larson, President and CEO of the PKD Foundation; Dr. Arlene Chapman, PKD Researcher and Professor of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Dr. William Bennett, Medical Director of Transplantation and Director of Renal Research at Legacy Health Systems in Portland, Oregon; and Dr. Jing Zhou, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Director of the Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Genetics.

Dr. Chapman: "Absolutely - new research findings this will change the approach that families currently take with regard to asymptomatic screening of their at-risk children."




Dr. Zhou: "There is always hope.All scientists are working very hard in finding a drug target, a new pathway, and new disease mechanisms. Such discoveries can be facilitated with the development of new technology in biosciences. The newly identified role of the ciliary localized PKD proteins as mechanosensors in kidney cells opened a new window and/or avenue for understanding disease mechanisms and design for therapeutic strategies."


Dan Larson: "Absolutely! The PKD Foundation has only been around for about 20 years - actively engaged in aggressive research funding for about the past decade. In that short period, we have seen incredible growth in the findings pointing toward a treatment and cure. Our more immediate goal is to find a treatment that stops cysts from growing. We've seen some great progress in just the past few months. Down the road, we hope to completely crack the code involving PKD and figure out how to short circuit the process. The goal of the PKD Foundation is to put ourselves out of business because we've found a treatment and a cure for PKD."


Dr. Bennett: "I do not believe a cure for PKD will be found in the near future, if by cure one means the elimination of the abnormal gene. I am much more confident that we will obtain new treatments that will slow down the growth of cysts and prevent or delay kidney failure for years."



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Do you know of a Worthy Cause?
If you have a worthy cause that should be featured in our Magazine.send email to

Awareness Calendar
Do you know of a worthy cause we should feature, send link and short description to:

Click on the month for detailed information on the causes.


National Therapeutic Recreation Week

International Massage Week

Eye Injury Prevention Month

Light the Night for Sight

International Group B Strep Awareness Month


National Minority Donor Awareness Day

America's Night Out Against Crime

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Month

Psoriasis Awareness Month

Amblyopia Awareness Month


Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Suicide Awareness Week

STOP a Suicide Today

Alcohol Awareness Month

National Women's Health and Fitness Day

Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

National Cholesterol Education Month

National Menopause Awareness Month

National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week


Breast Cancer Awareness

World Food Day

Domestic Violence Awareness

Healthy Lung Month

National Dental Hygiene

Down Syndrome Awareness

School Lunch Week


Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

American Diabetes Awareness Month

National Alzheimers Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

National Adoption Awareness Month

National Family Caregivers Month


World Aids Day

World Health Organization


Elton John Aids Foundation

Ryan White Emergency Act

Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Safe Toys & Gifts Awareness Month

Bone Marrow Disease Awareness Week

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