Published on November 1, 2022 | This year, the PKD Foundation created the Peer Ambassadors program. Established to build new bridges between the Foundation and previously underserved communities. Recently, two Peer Ambassadors, Tatiana Mangwi and Alyssia Gomez, attended events spreading the word about PKD. Each joining for their own reason, their hard work is connecting patients to the resources they need and raising awareness of PKD.
What brought you to the PKD Foundation?
Tatiana: I was looking to learn more about the disease [polycystic kidney disease] and found the PKD Foundation.
Alyssia: I was diagnosed with PKD at the age of 20 and I found the PKD Foundation. The Foundation gave me an opportunity to gain support with my condition.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer and what drew you to the Peer Ambassador role?
Tatiana: Volunteering is a way for me to not feel helpless and help in my effort to bring a way for me not to feel helpless and help in my effort to bring the effort of bringing awareness to the disease and find a cure. Being a Peer Ambassador meant I could reach out to people like me and other minorities, something that is so needed because of the disparities that affect POC.
Alyssia: I believe awareness can help bring opportunities and a community to those with this condition. Through volunteering, I can support this effort.
What’s your favorite part about the role?
Tatiana: I think my favorite part of being a Peer Ambassador is finding ways to reach as many people as possible. Making the choice to volunteer has given me so much hope and strength. That’s what I hope to inspire.
Alyssia: I’ve connected with individuals and families with PKD that I would never have met before.
Can you tell us about the recent events you attended as an Ambassador?
Tatiana: We had an educational booth at the Panafest Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was my first event, but I learned that many people didn’t know about the disease, so hopefully I can do more events and spread the word.
Alyssia: At an event at my local hospital, I was able to meet a family who had PKD that was passed down by generations. And I was also able to give resources to the hospital.
What goals do you have for this volunteer program?
Tatiana: My goal is to do more educational events and hopefully inspire more minorities with this disease to talk and share their experience.
Alyssia: To one day reach larger audiences. This will ensure PKD is better known and others with the condition are supported.
How can others get involved?
Tatiana: There are so many ways to get involved. You can donate, volunteer with one of the PKDF communities in your area, or simply educate yourself on the disease to better support loved ones affected by PKD.
Alyssia: Support those who are presenting and give them platforms to do so.
Ready to get involved? Learn more or apply now to join the Peer Ambassadors program! Curious about other Peer Ambassadors? Check out Peer Ambassador Patrice Adams’s vlog on Youtube to see what she’s up to.