Entertainment lawyer Ken Kleinberg was inspired to raise awareness and funds for kidney disease research after suffering from a kidney ailment in 1999. Doctors were never able to determine the cause of the problem and by 2001, his kidneys failed. He was a dialysis patient for the next six years until receiving a successful kidney transplant in 2007.
In 2002, with a small group of committed individuals and with the help of Dr. Vito M. Campese, Professor and Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at USC Keck School of Medicine, Ken established UKRO as a non-profit organization to provide support for kidney disease research.
Ron has been a member of Transplant Recipients International Organization Ventura County West Valley Chapter since 2002. He was elected as a member of the Board of Directors on January 1, 2003 and then elected Chapter President on January 1, 2004 and held this office for four years. He was elected to the International Board of Directors of TRIO, Inc. as a Member-at-Large on January 1, 2005. On January 1, 2006, he was elected Vice President, Member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Development (Fundraising Committee) of TRIO, Inc. His responsibilities encompassed all TRIO Chapters in the United States, Italy, Japan, and Australia.
Ron has been involved with many non-profit 501 (c ) (3) organizations over the years in promoting organ transplant awareness, such as: committee membership in The Southern California Renal Disease Council (ESRD Network 18); a Donate Life Ambassador for One Legacy (the Southern California Organ Procurement Organization); a Peer Counselor at dialysis centers in Los Angeles for the National Institute of Transplantation; Region 5 Representative of the OPTN/UNOS Pancreas Committee from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2009 and currently is a Committee Member–at-Large of the OPTN/UNOS Kidney Committee until June 30, 2013. He volunteered on many of the Development Committees of the above non-profits applying for financial support from both governmental and private sources.
Ron graduated from California State University, Northridge, in June 1968 with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with minors in Finance and Real Estate. He has been an entrepreneur for over 40 years running his own real estate corporation, a mortgage company and trustee corporation.
Ron discontinued his successful business career in July 2001 due to his kidney failing in December 2000 and beginning dialysis. On July 3, 2001, Ron received a kidney and pancreas transplant at UCLA. On March 15, 2009, Ron’s transplanted kidney failed and he returned to dialysis. On March 2, 2010, he received an extended criteria kidney from a deceased 75-year-old donor at the University of Arizona, Tucson Medical Center.
Ron now dedicates his time to philanthropic activities and promoting organ donor awareness and working with organizations that are attempting to find a cure for kidney disease throughout the United States.
Ron has been married to his college sweetheart, Arden, for 42 years. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. Ron and Arden are currently living in Santa Clarita, California.
Evelyn Hughes joined UKRO in March 2010, bringing more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit administration, finance, and communication. Since 2000, she has specialized in providing high-level services to Los Angeles County’s health and human services sector, with a particular emphasis on philanthropic organizations and government/community partnerships serving children and families. After a brief hiatus at the end of 2012, Hughes returned in February 2013 to her role as UKRO administrator, offering her generalist nonprofit background to the organization’s service once again.
As marketer, art director, event planner, graphic designer, artist, and writer, Michelle Fairchild has worn many hats in the kidney care field. For the last dozen years, she has worked at DaVita as an employee and a creative consultant and joined the UKRO team in January of 2010. She is committed to using her creative talents to make a difference in people’s lives. Her UKRO blog, Diary of a Kidney Lover, chronicles her experiences as an emerging kidney advocate and family member of a dialysis patient.
Michelle enjoys reading, writing, art, design, fashion and Facebooking, and has recently started writing a blog on the arts in Los Angeles.