Riding the Waves of Unity in Community: The NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival

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  • 20 Nov 2023
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For an incredible 38 years, the Space Coast has been the epicenter of an event that transcends the ordinary surf competition. The Annual NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival is more than just a gathering of surfers; it’s a lifeline for those battling kidney disease, an often silent crisis that demands our attention.

At its core, this remarkable event is a testament to unity, family, and community support. Savanna Lanza, the NKFF CEO, has been an integral part of this incredible journey literally all her life, alongside her family and countless other longtime board members and volunteers. Phil Salick has taken this on as a personal mission, Rich’s brother, and Philip  Salick, his nephew, have joined forces with Rich’s loyal surfing buddies to ensure that his memory and the festival’s vital mission endure.

But what truly sets the NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival apart is its unwavering commitment to raising awareness about kidney disease. It’s disheartening that 90% of those diagnosed with kidney disease may not even know they have it until they require dialysis—a silent battle fought within the shadows of our communities.

Surprisingly, when I asked beach-goers about the leading causes of kidney disease during the festival, not many knew the answer. It’s diabetes and hypertension, folks, and this festival is on a mission to change that. It’s not just about riding waves; it’s about catching the early signs of kidney disease.

The festival’s success lies in the willingness of our community to unite for this noble cause. Many volunteers have not been directly impacted by kidney disease, yet their dedication remains unwavering. Some even discovered their own related conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, while participating in the event. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of early detection and support.

As I walked the sandy shores during the festival, it’s heartwarming to see our community rally together like one big family. The collective hope is that more Floridians will join us in volunteering and raising awareness. The shocking fact that 90% of those with kidney disease are unaware of their condition underscores the urgency of our mission. Kidney disease takes more lives than breast and prostate cancer combined. We must change this narrative.

If you’re over 40 or have diabetes or hypertension, it’s essential to be aware of your kidney function. Don’t assume you’re in the clear; request a GFR (glomerular filtration rate) test and a UACR (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio) urinalysis from your doctor. Knowledge is power, and early detection can be life-saving.

As the patient advocate for the National Kidney Foundation of Florida, I’m here to extend our family’s support and guidance to those facing kidney disease. You don’t have to face it alone. Early detection and intervention can make an enormous difference, and you might even become a candidate for a transplant before dialysis becomes necessary.

The 38th Annual NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival has become a symbol of unity, family, and community support. It’s not just one of the world’s largest surfing charity competitions; it’s a source of hope for those battling kidney disease. It’s incredible to witness how this event has grown over the years, enabling the NKFF to provide crucial programs in patient services, education, and organ donation.

Rich Salick’s legacy, a true East Coast Legend, lives on through this event. His dedication to the cause of transplantation and organ donation continues to inspire us all.

Let’s ride the waves of unity, family, and community support for those facing kidney disease. For more information, visit NKFsurf.com, and become a part of this incredible movement. Together, as one united family, we can make a significant difference in the lives of our fellow Floridians.

Beyond the waves, this event is about making a genuine difference. Every penny from this festival goes directly to the NKF of Florida, supporting critical programs in patient services. It’s a chance for our community to unite, educate ourselves, and extend our hands to one another.

In these challenging times, where unity is more vital than ever, the NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival stands as a beacon of hope, family, and community support. Let’s refuse to let kidney disease lurk in the shadows any longer; together, as one united family, we can create waves of change.

As we look forward to the year 2024, we extend a heartfelt invitation to every Floridian, from all walks of life, to join us in this noble cause. Reach out to discover how you can be part of this inspiring event. Visit http://nkfsurf.com/ to explore other community initiatives that amplify the spirit of unity and support.

Let’s join hands, like a close-knit family, and make an enduring difference in the lives of those affected by kidney disease. Together, we can ride these waves of change toward a brighter, healthier future for all. If you have questions about Kidney Disease I encourage you to pick up the phone and reach out or email your Patient Advocate at jspears@kidneyfla.org – https://www.kidneyfl.org/

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