Olympic Gold Medalist Missy Franklin Collaborates with Otsuka to Raise Awareness of Kidney Disease and Encourage Family Health History Conversations

Former Professional Swimmer Discusses Her Family’s Journey with Autosomal Polycystic Kidney Disease

This Family Health History Month, five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin is teaming up with Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka) to shine a light on the importance of initiating family conversations about health history – particularly in those with a history of kidney disease. Through this ongoing collaboration, Missy is sharing how autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) has affected her own family. ADPKD is a rare genetic condition that causes cysts to form on the kidneys, eventually leading to a decline in kidney function and requiring a need for dialysis or a transplant.

Missy’s Journey: A Family United by ADPKD

Missy made her Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London when she was 17 and continued to swim competitively until her eventual retirement in 2018. Throughout her career and beyond, family remained a priority. Embracing the values of open communication and family connection, her journey took an unexpected turn when her father was diagnosed with ADPKD. Missy’s father was not alone – multiple relatives on his side of the family also live with ADPKD. While ADPKD is considered a rare disease, each child of a parent with ADPKD has a 50% chance of inheriting the condition.

“Our family rallied around my father's diagnosis, prompting important conversations about living with ADPKD,” said Missy Franklin. “This condition, while seemingly invisible, is a shared story among hundreds of thousands of families nationwide.”

Over time, Missy and her family learned that her father’s disease was progressing, and he ultimately underwent a successful kidney transplant surgery. Missy learned how important disease education is for those who may be affected by ADPKD or another kidney disease and is passionate about encouraging open dialogue among families.

Empowering Conversations and Early Detection

The joint effort between Otsuka and Missy Franklin will focus on education and awareness, including:

  • Early Detection Matters: ADPKD can progress rapidly, impacting an individual's overall health. Early detection through imaging and proactive discussions with healthcare providers is crucial for managing the disease effectively.
  • Family Conversations: Open and honest family conversations about health history are critical. Understanding the hereditary nature of ADPKD can empower individuals to make informed decisions for their health and that of future generations.
  • Patient Support: Those affected by ADPKD, or other kidney diseases, can visit ADPKDQuestions.com for comprehensive resources to help navigate their health journey.

“I am proud to work with Otsuka to shed light on the risks of ADPKD and the power of family dialogue,” said Missy Franklin. “My Olympic journey taught me the importance of discipline and determination. Now, I'm channeling that passion towards raising awareness about ADPKD and early disease detection. Family Health History Month is the perfect time to facilitate these conversations.”

To learn more about ADPKD, including downloadable resources on how to start open conversations with family members, visit ADPKDQuestions.com.