Mary Baliker was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of nine and has undergone dialysis during various times in her life. At 17, she had a kidney transplant from her brother, Doug. Since then, she has had three more transplants, the last of which was in 1999. As a result of this life-long experience, she cherishes her life and possesses a strong interest to help improve healthcare.
Mary’s illness inspired her to become a fierce healthcare advocate. She serves on:
- United Network for Organ Sharing as Pediatric Kidney Advisor
- UW Health Patient and Family Advisory Committees
- Friends of UW Heath Board of Directors
- National Kidney Foundation (peer mentor, advocacy committee, and policy committee)
- American Association of Kidney Patients: field ambassador
- Chronic Disease Coalition Ambassador
- American Kidney Fund Advocate
- Midwest Kidney Network Board of Directors & Consumer Committee (ESRD Network 11)
- National Patient/Family Engagement Learning & Action Network Health Services Advisory Group
Mary’s professional work experience over the past 30 years includes working with many health care organizations; including the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, and Long Beach Memorial Hospital. She has served as an organ procurement coordinator, clinical research transplant coordinator, outreach transplant education coordinator, grant writer and reviewer, and healthcare administration. Currently she works as a healthcare consultant as well as an inspirational speaker, educating and informing attendees with her stories and personal journey.
Mary enjoys spending time with her husband, Jim, family and friends; She can be found hiking, doing Pilates, yoga, and traveling. She also enjoys training her goldendoodle, Kona, as a therapy dog in hopes of taking him to hospitals and clinics to cheer up those who are ill.