16th Annual Renal Teen Prom

Jan 11, 2015

Prom Dress DonationsLori Hartwell missed her prom “because she spent all her teenage years on dialysis.”

Hartwell didn’t want that same fate to befall another teenager, so as president and founder of Renal Support Network (RSN) she dreamed up the Renal Teen Prom.

On January 18th, the 16th Annual Renal Teen Prom will be held at the Glendale Hilton. This is an event that is open for all young folks with Chronic Kidney Disease, ages 14-24. Know someone who would like an invitation? Download one and RSVP here.

Along with dinner and dancing, celebrity guests mingle, chat, hug, and perform, such as Jack Black who has a family member with CKD. He says, “That’s always the goal—let’s leave ’em smiling, enjoyin’ and having a great prom. Every kid deserves a great prom.”


Kyle Gass and Jack Black performing at last year's prom; photo by Serena Montenegro

Kyle Gass and Jack Black performing at last year’s prom; photo by Serena Montenegro


One’s prom is a “coming of age event,” says Hartwell, and she didn’t want kids to miss out on theirs, “so I started throwing a prom.”

Over 250 kids with CKD attend them prom every year, many of the wearing gowns that have been donated during the yearly Prom Dress Giveaway. The dresses chosen are not on loan, but for the girls and young women to keep as their own.

Hollywood set designers and production crews volunteer their time to decorate the venue while professional hair and make-up artists groom the guests. Girls try on dresses, then make their pick. They may also choose to accessorize with bracelets, necklaces and earrings that have been donated.




Karol Franks, who has shared her images in Hometown Pasadena’s “Photo Op,” has a daughter who is in need of a kidney. Jenna is 28 years old and blood type O, and she’ll be volunteering at the Renal Teen Prom.

Karol writes:

Many of the prom attendees, like Jenna, are on the national organ transplant list. In the U.S., 101,000 people are waiting for kidneys, but there are only 11,000 transplants from deceased donors each year. Thankfully there are another 6,700 kidneys from living donors. They are helping make a difference and saving lives. But the wait in Los Angeles is 10 years for a type O kidney and we have lost so many friends who didn’t get a transplant in time.


Jack Black and Lori Hartwell

Jack Black and Lori Hartwell


Living with kidney disease since age two, having survived 40 plus surgeries, 13 years of dialysis and now living with her fourth kidney transplant, Lori Hartwell founded the patient-led Renal Support Network in 1993 to instill “health, happiness, and hope” into the lives of fellow patients.

“It’s so important for these kids to get together, because they can feel so isolated,” Hartwell says. “Being with hundreds of kids who have gone through something similar makes them happy and creates friendships that last a lifetime.”


Photo by Serena Montenegro

Photo by Serena Montenegro


Donations to RSN help send teens to the prom—a night of dancing, dining, socializing and meeting kids like themselves. RSN’s donation page may be found here.


Renal Teen Prom, Sunday, Jan. 18th, 6-11 p.m. Hilton Hotel, 100 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale 91202. For complete details, visit


Prom attendees with actor Quinton Aaron of The Blind Side

Prom attendees with actor Quinton Aaron of The Blind Side



Interested in being a donor? Here’s what we learned by visiting Jenna’s kidney donor Facebook page:

A living donor candidate is a person who is healthy, well-informed and makes a voluntary decision to donate one of their kidneys. Living donors must be over 18 and usually under 70 years of age. They must be in good general health, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 30, a non-smoker, with no evidence of significant high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or hepatitis.

A donor can live in any state and it is important to know that all medicals costs are covered by the recipients health insurance. As you might imagine, donating life to another is a remarkable gift that takes a great deal of thought that can only be obtained by being well informed.

To learn more about living donation please visit

For more info about being tested to match Jenna please complete a LIVING DONOR INTAKE FORM ( The patient is Jenna Franks; date of birth 11-21-85. Our email is: – Thank you!


Jenna at the beach; photo by Karol Franks

Jenna at the beach; photo by Karol Franks


Quotes from Telemundo and KNBC 4.

Lead photo, top right, by Karol Franks of Karol Franks Photography.



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