Local Kidney Patient Advocate Maria Grijalva to be Honored


Last updated 1/3/2023 at 8:57pm | View PDF

Kidney patient advocate Maria Elena Grijalva with her brother and kidney donor, John Arriola.

Kidney patient advocate Maria Elena Grijalva has been fighting for people who are at the greatest risk of kidney disease ever since she received a kidney transplant 36 years ago.

The Tulare resident's efforts will be honored by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) at the 2023 Spring Clinical Meetings in Austin, TX. She will receive the Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award, which was established to honor the longtime advocate for patient-centered care and empowerment.

"I first met Maria at the 2020 Congressional Briefing and was impressed by her dedication to raise awareness of kidney disease in her community, particularly in individuals of Native American and Hispanic backgrounds," said NKF President Sylvia Rosas, MD, MSCE. "She gives so much to others with kidney disease."

More than three decades ago, Maria knew nothing about kidney disease, but then her kidneys failed, and she needed a transplant. Her brother, John Arriola, successfully donated one of his kidneys. Today, they work together to help others.

Maria devotes her efforts to educating Native American people and farmworkers in the agricultural communities in California and raising awareness among high-risk populations about kidney health and kidney disease.

"It is an incredible gift to receive a transplant and it has given me the power to educate others about prevention, understanding their kidney disease, and to advocate for themselves with their healthcare team," said Maria.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit http://www.kidney.org.


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