Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Hello people..It's Health and Fitness week and my #WCW is  Iya of the Iya Foundation..

Here's the 411..Enjoy!

Please tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Iya Bekondo-Granatella, kidney transplant recipient, and Founder of the Iya Kidney Foundation. I am a Cameroonian, currently residing in the United States.

Why the Iya Foundation? How did it all start? 

The passion of The Iya Foundation is born of personal experiences. I was diagnosed with Kidney Disease at age 7, and lost both of my kidneys ten years later to kidney failure. After 5 years of dialysis therapy, God shined His grace upon me, and made it possible for me to get a renal transplant through my amazing selfless mom who donated one of her kidneys to me. Our transplant will be 10 years on September 6th 2015

What is the Iya Foundation? Where is it located?

The Iya Kidney Foundation is a registered 501c3 Not-For-Profit Organization located in Edison New Jersey. The Iya Foundation is a Non-Profit organization that raises awareness on Kidney Disease and Organ Donation. The organization also provides financial assistance to low income kidney failure patients.

Iya & her mum

How do you accomplish your vision? The activities of the foundation

Our awareness campaigns include: giving a kidney talk at your place of worship; our annual walk and barbeque fundraiser that  further echoes kidney and organ donation awareness, sending out educative and informative materials through our e-newsletter, as well as use social media to advocate through our daily educative updates and campaigns, such as our Green Campaign – where we beckon the public to wear their green outfits and post it on social media with a caption that highlights kidney and organ donation awareness.

Our Financial Assistance Program was launched last year, and 5 End Stage Renal Disease patients benefited funds of up to a $1000.00 each. We will start accepting applications for our second round of financial assistance in March.

Also, we are embarking on our Global Dialysis Initiative which will enable us to assist existing dialysis clinics in developing countries where dialysis conditions our terrible – a very high population need for dialysis but limited resources to cater to the patients, causing a lot of deaths as a result. We have an upcoming gala – The Iya Foundation Hope Affaire – scheduled for September 5th 2015, to be held in Edison NJ. Proceeds from that Gala will go towards assisting these dialysis clinics. You can click here to be a sponsor

Give us an insight on Kidney Disease...What are the most common Kidney diseases? 
Around the world, the two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

Glomerulonephritis:  the third leading cause of chronic kidney disease is caused by a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney’s filtering units.

Polycystic Kidney Diseasethis is the only kind of chronic kidney disease that is inherited. It causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
      Malformations: this usually occurs while the baby is developing in the womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys

 Lupus as well as other diseases that affect the body’s immune system
      Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
      Repeated urinary infections.

Please enlighten us about organ donation
Organ donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person. Blacks are the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant.
Blacks have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than Caucasians, increasing the risk of organ failure. Blacks make up 13% of the population, 34% of those waiting for a kidney, and 25% of those waiting for a heart.
We need more people in our communities to become organ donors. We need to eradicate from our minds the myths that continue to jeopardize our reasoning and so prevent us from doing the right thing. Organ donation does save lives.  Click here to register to become an organ donor today.

Facts about Organ Donation
1)     Anyone can register to be an organ donor regardless of age, race, or medical history
2)     An individual’s donation status does not affect medical care; the first priority of medical professionals is to save lives.
3)     For cadaver donors, donation does not become an option until death has been declared.
4)     All major religions in the U.S support donation and view it as a final act of love and generosity.
5)     There are no cost to the donor of their family for organ donation
6)     An open casket funeral is possible for cadaver donors
7)     The donor and family are treated with the utmost care, respect and dignity throughout the donation process
8)     A living donor can also save lives by donating a kidney or part of the liver, intestine, lung, or pancrease

What is process of Organ Donation in the U.S.? 

Organ donation gives individuals the opportunity to give others a gift of life; a second chance at life. With so many people in need of organ and tissue transplants, the need for organ and tissue donations is rapidly on the rise. You could sign up to become a living donor, or an organ donor upon death.

For Deceased Donors
You can register to become an organ donor through an online registry, where upon death, your specified donor organs and tissues could be transplanted to a matching transplant candidate. 
According to the law, hospitals have to notify Organ Procurement Organizations of death or imminent death. If organ donation is a possibility, a recovery agency personnel checks the State Donor Registry to see if the person had designated his/her wishes. A representative from the recovery agency will then meet/talk with the family to discuss their loved one’s wishes, take a medical history, and arrange for tests to determine if the person can be a donor.

For Living Donors
Fortunately, patients could also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor as well as increases the existing organ supply. Click here to learn more about how to become a living organ donor.

In reference to cost, the donor’s family does not pay for the cost of organ or tissue donation. All costs related to donation of organs and tissues are paid by the recipient, usually through insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Medical costs for care given prior to a person’s death — and funeral expenses — remain the responsibility of the family. Usually if the would-be recipient has no form of insurance, they would have to raise a recommended amount from the health care team, before the transplant can take place. In my case, because I didn’t have any form of insurance, I had to raise a minimum of $30K, before my transplant was performed (even though my mom was already approved to be a match).

A few recommendations  on our lifestyle that can help to improve kidney function and reduce health risks

The two main recommendations are eating healthy and implementing some form of exercise routine to keep you physically fit.

Tips to a Kidney Healthy Diet
o    Commit to Whole Grains – Stay Away From Refined Products
o    No Salt Canned Foods
o    Buy Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
o    Use Spices for Flavor Instead of Salt and Fats
o    Eat Lean – Avoid Red Meats
o    Avoid Processed Sweets
o    Avoid Saturated Fats
o    Limit Dairy Fat

Lifestyle Activities that could Help Keep You Active and Physically Fit
o    Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
o    Walking to your coworker’s office instead of using the phone or email.
o    Take a short walk around the block with family, friends, or coworkers.
o    Gardening and doing household chores (hand wash your clothes, vacuum, or sweep the floor, hand wash the dishes, mop the floors, rake leaves, wash your windows, etc).
o    Walking inside the bank rather than using the drive- through window.
o    Parking further from store entrances and walking the extra distance.
o    Taking short breaks at work to get up, stretch, and walk.
o    Playing with your children, nieces, and nephews, and pets.
o    If you take the bus, get off one stop early if your are in an area safe for walking.
o    In bad weather, walk around a shopping mall.
o    Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.

How can people support the Iya Foundation? 
To support the Iya Foundation, go to and click on the donate button. You can also purchase The Iya Foundation Save-a-Life T-Shirt as 100% of the proceeds will go towards our financial assistance program. For more information on how to support the Iya Foundation, email us at

Do you have any upcoming campaigns or events?

Yes, we are gearing up for our Green Awareness Campaign which is a social media frenzy that encourages everyone to wear green in March as a means to promote awareness on Kidney Disease and Organ Donation. We encourage everyone to purchase the green Save-a-Life T-shirt on our website and Rock it on March 12th, which is international kidney awareness day.
Also, on September 5th 2015, we will be launching our first ever Iya Foundation Hope Gala, which will benefit kidney failure patients in our communities here as well as dialysis clinics in developing countries. This event also marks the ten year transplant anniversary of my mom and I. It will be a night of inspiration, education, awareness, Hope, and of course fun, laughter, dance, good food, and excitement. Go online to our website, to be a SPONSOR for this event or contact us.

Where and how can people reach you if they want to be part the Iya project? 

You can become a member by registering online at our website, email us at, or call us at 732-485-7052

Wow Iya Iya Iya.....How many times did I call you? lol. Thank you soo much for this  very educative and informative interview. I am truly inspired that you are using your experience to reach out and make a difference in other peoples lives. Thumbs up to you and your team. Thank you for being involved in such a noble cause and reppin' 237 all the way.  
OK people.Check out the Iya Foundation's activities 7 resources on their website & facebook page.Become a Sponsor the Iya Foundation gala, Donate, Buy a Tshirt...You will be helping to increase kidney awareness or save someone's life.



  1. She great and awesome. I luv her. Thanks Yef for sharing and splendid write.

    1. Thanks Sheryl..Isn't she? Please spread the word!!

  2. Iya is doing such a great job in bringing awareness to people about Kidney disease and the effects of healthy living in general. She is truly deserving of the WCW title! Go Iya Foundation! Go I Rep Camer!

    1. You can say that again...Her passion for what she does and making a difference in many people's lives makes are very deserving of to be my WCW!!

  3. This is a very inspiring story. Someone who uses her 'misfortunes' to make a positive and impactful change in the lives of many.Her positivity is contageous. Wishing her all the very best. keep them coming.


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