The Western PA Kidney Support Groups was founded on May 17, 2010 by our president Jack Silverstein, vice president Robb Wilson, and our dear friend the late Stephanie Page. Through our personal experiences with kidney disease and organ transplants, we found it was difficult to find information and meet others going through the same struggles we faced.
Therefore we created WPKSG as a nonprofit to enable those with chronic kidney disease, transplant recipients and candidates, as well as caregivers to meet and share common experiences. On top of this, we aim to provide useful information that can explain your options, help you make informed decisions and improve everyday living.
Currently, we operate 10 support groups locations throughout Western Pennsylvania and have over 600 participants involved with our organization.
Our group is open to all transplant recipients and candidates, as we all have similar issues.
2012: Benjamin Rush Community Organization Award- honored by the Allegheny County Medical Society for addressing community health needs
2014, 2015: Community Partnership Award- honored by APPRISE for helping those with chronic illnesses and ongoing medication expenses
Everyone has a unique story, but those who have faced the ups and downs of chronic kidney disease, dialysis and/or the miracle of transplantation have a bit more turmoil in their lives than most!
You see by our name that we are made up of "support groups." That designation may conjure up a variety of images that may make you uncomfortable. Come to one of our meetings and you will see the value of hearing the stories of others, and sharing yours. You will enter a room of strangers and leave with a genuine connection to others who truly understand how you feel because they have walked, and are walking, the same path.
While our meetings are important, they aren't the only way to connect with others facing chronic kidney disease. We hold many educational seminars and attend conventions throughout the year, so please join our email list (found on the home page) to stay updated about future events!
Our Officers & Board Members
Jack had diabetes and was on dialysis until 2002 when he received simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplants. Currently volunteers at hospitals in Pittsburgh in addition to running WPKSG.
Leads Kittanning and Natrona Heights support groups
Joe was transplanted on August 20, 2012 receiving a kidney from his sister Irene. Joe is a leader of 2 of WPKSG's support groups.
Leads Westmoreland support group
Vicki was diagnosed in January 1998 with Membranous Glomerulonephritis and was on home dialysis for four years and then in center dialysis for four more years. She received a kidney transplant in July 2012 and is doing very well and is involved with many charities.
As a caregiver, Donna brings a unique perspective to WPKSG, knowing all that it takes to support those facing transplants and kidney disease.
Leads Washington, PA & Pittsburgh West Support Groups
Mike had PKD Disease and received a kidney transplant in June 2007.
Barb had a son who went into renal failure from a staph infection. He went on dialysis at the age of 23 and was able to get a kidney transplant within 6 months from his father, who was a living donor.
Leads Pittsburgh East
Kathie has been diabetic for 60+ years. 12 years ago, she got a pancreas transplant. The president, Jack, told her about transplants. The very next day, she called the center and got an appointment- best call she ever made!
Other Support Group Leaders
Johnstown Kidney Pals
The logo for WPKSG is our Tree of Life. The individual leaves of a tree provide energy for the tree to continue to live and flourish. But it is not any singular leaf that makes a tree big and strong. It is the combination of every leaf, on every branch, which together gives a tree its strength. At WPKSG our leaves are made up of green ribbons- the international symbol for organ donation. These ribbons represent the lives and stories of all our members- donors, patients, and their loved ones. Because together, with our combined experiences, we can be stronger and continue to thrive. Every year, by adding more members to our support groups, our tree gets bigger and stronger. So we invite you to join us. Become a part of our network. Add your ribbon- your story- to our tree.