An Open Letter from Henry Brehm to the NephCure Family
“Wow, it has been almost 12 years since I started with NephCure working with dedicated patient families and docs. Over 1000 walks, research conferences, Countdown to a Cure Gala, Lunch & Learns, Golf Tournaments, Rodeos and far too many hospital visits. The organization has grown significantly nationally and internationally and is now poised to go to the next level with new leadership. Two years ago as I approached the magic young age of 60, I told our Chairman of the Board, Dr. Smokler, we needed to begin thinking about my replacement. Change is good; change is necessary and change facilitates growth. Thus I have resigned my position with NephCure Kidney International, handing the baton to the next generation of qualified passionate leaders.
NephCure has grown to be a dynamic leading renal patient advocacy group. I also have participated in several rare disease consortium organizations and NephCure is right there at the top in terms of accelerating research and getting things done. We started with a tiny staff in 2003 and 43 patients on the list. I could not spell Focal Segmental Glomerular Sclerosis nor was there much data. We have raised over $30 million, leveraged another $16 million in matching grants, supported $15 million in research, established The NephCure Kidney Network Patient Registry and are partnering with four new clinical trials for new therapies which developed from networking, making noise with passionate patient/families and putting our noses to the ground with the docs to uncover repurposing and new opportunities.
I have had the privilege to work with dynamic, empowered people and a trusting strategic relationship with leadership who challenged me. Most important; I was so very lucky to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful families and committed researchers and clinicians over the years. It has been your perseverance and commitment which motivated me and made me impatient for answers and new therapies. I loved my job and I could not wait to get started every day. Correction-it is not a job; it has been my life. I can fill a binder with all my midnight bedside notes.
NephCure has a growing board, wonderful volunteers and a great staff. My NephCure experience has taught me that all of us can truly make a difference in peoples’ lives, and I used to think that I could not leave until there was a new treatment or even a cure but I know NephCure is in good hands and I will be hanging around for six months on a consulting basis to provide whatever help is needed. I used to dream of the day when Dr. Smokler would be announcing on a stage that a cure had been discovered and I look forward to buying a ticket to that event.
I will never forget my time at NephCure and I will never forget you.”
Everyone at NephCure Kidney International recognizes, without question, that NephCure would not be the organization it is today without the last 12 years of Henry’s leadership. He’s been CEO, tireless advocate, advisor, and friend to many in our NephCure family. Thank you, Henry for everything you’ve done to make NephCure the world-class organization it is today. We wish you great success in your future endeavors and will reserve a special table for you on the day Dr. Smokler announces a cure!
While we all adjust to this change, we continue honoring our commitment to our patients, patient families, donors, researchers, and partners. We pledge that even as we pause to reflect on where we’ve been, we continue to focus on accelerating research now, and look to the future and finding a cure for FSGS and the diseases that cause Nephrotic Syndrome. NephCure Chief Operating Officer Mark Stone is now the Acting CEO of the Foundation. We welcome Mark in this Acting CEO role as he takes the baton from Henry and leads NephCure into the foreseeable future of funding research to find a cure.