Just a dude with dialysis problems. End Stage Renal Disease survivor, TWO time transplant recipient and FORMER NxStage Home Hemodialysis Patient. Second transplant occurred on July 23rd, 2011. Returned to dialysis, October 2018. Third transplant on November 7th, 2020. I talk about my experiences with dialysis and transplants all while trying to live a “normal” life. From a young man to a middle aged dad, insight and thoughts on life, love and living with ESRD – tinged with humor.

Ms. Rae-Garwood’s writing started out as a means to an end for a single parent with two children and a need for more income than her career as a NYC teacher afforded. Gail retired from both college teaching and acting – after a bit of soul searching about where her CKD limited energy would be best spent – early in 2013. Since her diagnose, Ms. Rae-Garwood writes most often about Chronic Kidney Disease, although she does write fiction and non-fiction. She has a three time award winning weekly blog about this topic at http://gailraegarwood.wordpress.com and social media accounts as @SlowItDownCKD.

Monday, November 1, 2021

NEW YORK and WOONSOCKET, RI — Lyfebulb, a patient-empowerment platform that connects patients with industry experts to support user-driven innovation, and CVS Kidney Care®, a CVS Health® (NYSE: CVS) company, invite entrepreneurs to submit patient-centered and tech-forward ideas that reimagine the kidney health experience as part of the Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care Innovation Challenge.

Together, Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care encourage entrepreneurs to bring forward strategic, creative, and scalable concepts to make care more understandable, accessible, and equitable to serve kidney patient and care partner needs. Proposals may range from early to mature product development and include initiatives designed to:

  • Encourage better kidney health
  • Improve early evaluation for chronic kidney disease (CKD
  • Educate health care providers and patients around kidney function
  • Increase cultural empathy among health care workers
  • Remove social barriers that affect kidney health outcomes
  • Increase the diversity of nephrologists

Communities of color bear a disproportionate share of kidney disease’s burden, with individuals frequently underdiagnosed and struggling to obtain equitable care. Applicants from historically underrepresented communities and those personally affected by CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are particularly encouraged to submit their ideas. 

“Treating kidney disease is not enough. We must empower kidney health,” said Dr. Jesse Roach, Senior Medical Director, Health Equity, CVS Kidney Care. “Patient entrepreneurs are an important resource to identify innovative ways to break down barriers facing kidney disease patients in underserved communities across the country.”

Selected applicants will receive an invitation to pitch their business ventures to an expert panel of judges composed of health care industry, medical, and patient leaders over the course of a two-day in-person summit in the Boston, MA area, on March 2-3, 2022. One winner will be awarded a $25,000 monetary award to further the development of their solution. CVS Kidney Care may consider competing finalists for possible partnerships or investment opportunities beyond the challenge.

The judging panel will include:

  • Richard Knight, President, American Association of Kidney Patients
  • Glenda Roberts, Director, External Relations and Patient Engagement at UW Kidney Research Institute/Center for Dialysis Innovation; Chief Strategy and Operations Officer – Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center
  • Michael Pimental, Vice President, Strategic Partnership and Growth Acceleration, CVS Health®; Co-Founder & Partner, CVS Health Ventures
  • Adele Gulfo, Chief Business and Commercial Development Officer, Sumitovant Biopharma
  • Keisha L. Gibson, MD, MPH, FASN, UNC School of Medicine
  • Kyu Rhee M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Aetna®

“Patients and their loved ones possess incredible insights and are uniquely positioned via lived experience to identify new business solutions to combat this disease and improve health equity among all,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Through this call-to-action, we will surface solutions that are tackling the challenge in partnership with the very community we seek to serve.”

The competition is free to enter. Official eligibility criteria, and terms and conditions can be found on the official website. Applying companies must be registered in the United States.

Applicants may apply now through December 14, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT by visiting the application page.

About CVS Kidney Care

CVS Kidney Care® is reimagining the future of kidney health to help patients do more than survive – but thrive. Our unmatched patient insights, grounded in CVS Health’s connectivity, link data and clinical knowledge to create a personalized approach that breaks down barriers to care, including systemic barriers that have led to disparities in kidney health. Our end-to-end approach is flexible and customizable to help support a truly patient-centered experience. No matter where people are in their kidney health journey, we help them connect to an integrated network of options that make care easier to understand, more accessible, and suited to their needs.  

We are changing kidney disease as we know it because the more than 37 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease deserve more than 20th century solutions. Learn more at www.cvskidneycare.com.

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is an innovation accelerator that bridges the gap between patient communities and the healthcare industry by working directly with patients and care partners to generate insights and build new solutions to reduce the burden of living with chronic disease. Lyfebulb operates across 11 disease states and counting. For more information, see Lyfebulb.comTransplantLyfe.com,  Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn.

For more information:

CVS Health Contact:
KC Sledd
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
Phone: +1 401 328 5361
Email: kristin.sledd@cvshealth.com

Lyfebulb Contact:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: + 1 917-575-0210
Email: karin@lyfebulb.com


November 1, 2021
Applications Open
December 14, 2021
Submission Deadline
January 25, 2022
Finalist Announcement
March 2-3, 2022
Innovation Challenge
March 3, 2022
Winner Announcement


The Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care® Innovation Challenge will take place in March 2022 and is currently accepting applications through December 14, 2021. Selected applicants will receive an invitation to pitch their ideas and solutions to an expert panel of judges comprised of healthcare industry, medical, and patient leaders over the course of the two-day summit. One entrepreneur will be awarded the 2022 Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care Innovation Award, including a $25,000 monetary grant to grow their company. Competing finalists may be considered by CVS Kidney Care for possible partnerships or investment opportunities.

In addition to presenting their innovative ventures, finalists will have the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to further advance patient innovation in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and engage with Lyfebulb founders, CVS Kidney Care leadership, representatives from the CKD/ESRD patient community, key opinion leaders, and potential investors.

Note: The Summit is currently scheduled to take place in person. However, Lyfebulb will continue to monitor the national, state, and local COVID-19 situation, and the details of this event remain subject to change from in-person to virtual as needed.



Through Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care’s shared commitment to patients and their loved ones, the Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care Innovation Challenge is seeking a wide range of solutions to address health disparities among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In order to address the health disparities facing kidney patients and their care partners, we will identify scalable solutions that do one or more of the following:

  • Improve early evaluation for kidney disease
  • Educate health care providers and patients around eGFR kidney function
  • Increase cultural empathy among healthcare workers
  • Remove social barriers that affect kidney health outcomes
  • Increase the diversity of nephrologists

We also encourage the submission of all creative and strategic solutions to provide equitable care and improve patient and care partner outcomes. Primary areas of interest supporting this mission include education and awareness, early identification and disease progression, and overall quality of life.



Applicants from historically underrepresented communities and those personally affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are particularly encouraged to submit their ideas.


  • Devices
  • Consumer products
  • Healthcare IT
  • Healthcare services


  • US entities only
  • For-profit companies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Individuals with registered organizations


  • Idea stage
  • Early development
  • Mature development


The judging panel will assess the following:


  • Strategic basis for addressing health equity challenges facing patients and their care partners
  • How these challenges are specifically being addressed


  • Potential of the innovation to improve the lives of people affected by kidney disease
  • Degree of impact (market impact and patient impact)
  • Measurability of impact


  • Uniqueness to the market
  • Feasibility of development and implementation
  • Market sustainability




Applications open on Monday, November 1, 2021



Applications close on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at 11:59 PM EST



The Challenge will take place March 2-3, 2022



One entrepreneur will be awarded the 2022 Lyfebulb-CVS Health Innovation Award, including a $25,000 monetary grant to grow their company

Amanda DeJesus is a heart transplant survivor and Chef. She graduated from The Art Institute of Houston in Texas.  She is currently a co-host of the Podcast Unfiltered Survivors. Amanda’s goals are to use her creative talents, training and devotion to living a healthy life and incorporate her passion of food and nutrition to enhance her life and the life of other heart patients. Amanda served as one of the 2017 National Go Red Spokeswomen for the Go Red for Women campaign and volunteers with the American Heart Association, LifeGift and Donate Life America.