National Volunteer Week 2022

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Published on April 12, 2022 | Join us in celebrating National Volunteer Week 2022 on April 17-23! Volunteers are the heart of the PKD community, ensuring no one faces polycystic kidney disease alone. In 1987, the first local volunteer community was formed. Since then, the PKD Foundation has been committed to growing our volunteer program to meet the evolving needs of all impacted by PKD. Next week, we’ll be honoring our PKDF volunteers by sharing their stories and our gratitude.


Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2022

On average, PKDF volunteers contribute over 27,000 volunteer hours each year (valued at more than $700,000). Our local volunteers participate in fundraisers to support research and host community events. Importantly, they build a true sense of belonging among PKD patients, family members, and friends throughout their journey with PKD. In addition, national groups of volunteers support the Foundation’s mission in areas of advocacy, patient support, education, and research.


PKDF Volunteers—What’s New

As our organization grows, so do our programs and volunteer needs. This year, we’re excited to share updates to our volunteer programs, including new volunteer roles.

On our volunteer page, you can see a full list of volunteer positions, including:

  • PKD Connect Ambassador
  • Advocacy Champion
  • Peer Ambassador
  • PKD Connect Interpreter
  • Walk Ambassador
  • Fundraising Ambassador
  • Stewardship Ambassador
  • A position on one of our panels

No matter what your interest is, there’s a volunteer role for you. If you’re not sure which role is best for you, our team can help you out. Simply reach out to us at

Get to Know Our PKDF Volunteers

Michelle Hoffmann

Since 2019, Michelle Hoffmann has served the PKD Foundation as a volunteer. She’s the Walk Ambassador for the National Capital Walk for PKD and a member of the Advocacy Champion Network (ACN).

Darien DaCosta

For 13 years, Darien DaCosta has volunteered with the PKD Foundation. After years of loving volunteering, he joined the PKD Foundation to give back to a cause close to his heart. Along with his wife, Josie, he’s served as a Walk Ambassador and PKD Connect Ambassador (formerly known as a Chapter Coordinator).

What brought you to the PKD Foundation?

Michelle: My husband has PKD and when the disease progressed to the point where he needed a kidney transplant, we searched the internet for information and resources. Through this search, we found the PKD Foundation National Capital Walk for PKD. It sounded interesting so we put together a team. By the time the walk date arrived, my husband was four months post-transplant. Once we registered for the Walk, we started to get information from the PKD Foundation.

Darien: I was first introduced to the PKD Foundation after my wife, Josie, was diagnosed with PKD in 2008. We attended the PKD Connect Conference in Chicago in 2009.


Why did you decide to join our PKDF volunteers?

Michelle: In 2017, I retired from my career in education and was looking for a volunteer opportunity in my community that was meaningful to me and somewhere where I felt I could make a difference. In 2019, the National Capital community was looking for a new Walk for PKD coordinator, and I thought this was just the role and organization for me. Our family has participated in the Walk for PKD every year since 2015. We’ve enjoyed meeting others who had PKD as well as being able to raise some money for the PKD Foundation.

Darien: We learned about the local volunteer communities at the conference. I’ve volunteered for other organizations since the mid-’90s, and this was an opportunity to volunteer for a cause that has a direct impact on my family, while also helping others in the PKD community.


What do you love most about your volunteer role?

Michelle: It’s been very rewarding to help raise not only money for research for PKD but also raise awareness of the disease. I look forward to the 2022 Walk which will again be an “in-person” Walk. In my role as an ACN member, I’m looking forward to advocating for issues and legislation that is pertinent to the PKD Community.

Darien: I love knowing that the work we’re doing has an impact on others and may eventually lead to a treatment or cure for people affected by PKD. I would encourage anyone who reads this to think about volunteering for the PKD Foundation. It’s an opportunity to meet people in the PKD community, learn more about PKD, help others, and can have a positive impact on your own personal well-being.


Whether you’re a volunteer, interested in volunteering, or know a volunteer, National Volunteer Week 2022 is a great time to congratulate the members of this community who make our work possible. Thank you to each and every PKD Foundation volunteer! Your time and dedication make the PKD community stronger. 


To learn more about our volunteer programs, visit our volunteer webpage.

1 Comment

  1. Jean Sommer

    What community region is Darien from? It does not say. I believe that would be a good thing to add in the blog.


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