Friday, March 2, 2012

Now It's REALLY an Award-Winning Blog

The FedEx driver scared the boogaloo out of me the other morning, banging on our front door to drop off a package. Now, I'm accustomed to receiving overnight deliveries – usually DVDs to review in my capacity as a television critic – but since I was deep in thought and less than three feet from the door at the moment, I had to swallow hard to get my heart out of my throat and back to its normal location.

Ah, but this particular package was no skinny disk or press kit. It was way too heavy, and felt kinda wooden. To my great surprise, it was a plaque!

It's not every day you receive an award via FedEx (well, maybe you do, but I live a fairly humdrum existence), so I ripped the packaging apart like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning. It was my 2011 Robert Felter Memorial Award from the Renal Network, Inc., which I proudly announced last June in a post titled "This Award-Winning Blog."

The inscription reads the award "Is Proudly Presented to JIM McFARLIN (hey, that's the way it looks!) For Working on Behalf of Kidney Patients."

Aw, shucks.

As I've noted before, I'm certain the award wasn't bestowed solely because of this "Just Kidneying" blog. I've made numerous speaking engagements the past few years on behalf of Peritoneal Dialysis, kidney disease prevention and organ donation, including an appearance before the Michigan Legislature, and visited dialysis clinics to talk to patients one-on-one and lend encouragement. I'm contributing editor for the "Live Now: Rethink Kidney Disease" website, and I've written articles for HOUR Detroit magazine and several other publications concerning Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

But virtually none of those things would have happened had it not been for "Just Kidneying," which brought my CKD and my feelings about it to the attention of decision makers, dialysis clinic personnel and convention planners in many places. So, just like at the Oscars, I accept this award on behalf of my blog. I'm extremely honored to receive it.

I didn't expect it to arrive in a plain white FedEx envelope, however. Initially I was told the Robert Felter (I think I'll call it "The Bobby") would be presented in a semi-formal dinner ceremony, most likely somewhere near the Renal Network's regional headquarters in Indianapolis. But the congratulatory letter that accompanied the plaque regretfully informed me "that the organization with whom we were collaborating on the patient meeting was not able to secure the necessary funding. Thus, there was not a Network-sponsored patient meeting."

That's the kind of award ceremony I would get: a package dropped at my doorstep.

Dang. I was actually looking forward to that rubber chicken.