gayle-sellarsGayle Sellars passed away in March of 2013, leaving behind a strong legacy of advocacy and passion for finding treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Gayle first found out about PKD when her mother, Marilyn Zubo, was diagnosed with autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) while Gayle was 19. Gayle found out she too had PKD when she was 24 years old. “Gayle was always a very smart, determined and forceful person,” Marilyn said. “She was a champion for our family and for those who live with the challenges of PKD everyday.”

Marilyn had a transplant 10 years ago and is in good health. But, Gayle knew life would be better for her mother if she didn’t have to worry about insurance and the cost of anti-rejection drugs. Gayle’s passion inspired her to attend United on the Hill for the first time in 2009 and she attended every year after, fighting hard to inform representatives of the impact PKD has not only on the individual, but the family as well. It was very important to Gayle to find a cure for PKD, not only for herself, but for her mother, daughters, brothers, nieces, nephews and for all those who suffer from this disease. She felt very strongly that in order to gain more funding for PKD she needed to inform and educate our members of Congress about PKD through United on the Hill.

Last year, Gayle attended United on the Hill with her husband Ronnie and teenage daughters Allison and Jessica. Through her willingness to take action, Gayle showed her daughters how they too can make a difference through her trip to the Hill to raise awareness and advocate for PKD.

Connie Lolli, a longtime friend of Gayle’s, attended United on the Hill with her in 2010, and it was a trip she will never forget. “I have seen Gayle deal with PKD for all of these years, however it wasn’t until she asked me to attend United on the Hill with her that I began to grasp what exactly she was dealing with and fighting for,” Connie said. “I hope that people will remember Gayle not for her disease but for the extraordinary woman she was. She has been a great role model for her daughters as well as mine.”