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KIDNEY REAL TALK is a place to get easy to understand, straight forward information about kidney disease and how to avoid it.


Eddie Z is an award winning Producer, Engineer and Guitarist that was diagnosed with kidney failure in July of 2012. Since 1994, Eddie has owned and operated The Playroom music facility in Charlotte, NC where he has worked with many of the worlds biggest artists including Anthony Hamilton, 3 Doors Down, Usher, Aaliyah, Phoenix, Buck Cherry, Dr John, Jewel and many others.

To check out The Playroom, visit www.theplayroomonline.com

Immediately following his diagnosis, Eddie started his 2 year dialysis treatment. His story was made public in May on 2013

Miraculously, Vicki, Eddie’s long time life partner was a donor match and Eddie was transplanted on May 14, 2014. Thinking he was all set and good to go, Eddie had no idea his real struggles had only begun. PLEASE NOTE THAT EDDIE’s POST TRANSPLANT STORY IS VERY UNIQUE AND IS LITERALLY 1 IN A MILLION. Read about it here.

Eddie is now on the road to recovery. He is enjoying playing in the band Charity Case, is producing music, and runs the Playroom. He also spends a lot of his time raising awareness for kidney disease. His goal is to try and help prevent even just one person from having to start dialysis treatment. The key points of his message are….. 1) Kidney disease can strike anyone. Rich, poor, black, white, young, old, male or female etc. It’s an equal opportunity disease. 2) Even in the most dire of circumstances, this disease can be beat. NEVER GIVE UP. If you’d like to email Eddie directly, you can reach him by clicking here.

Eddie has been contracted to write a book on his story and is also developing a musical about his life and his battle with kidney disease.


Matt Ellis is an Assistant Professor of Medicine & Surgery (Nephrology & Abdominal Transplant) & the Medical Director of Kidney & Pancreas Transplantation at Duke University. Originally from New Mexico, Matt has been in North Carolina for almost 20 years & bleeds Duke blue (sorry). At Duke, he provides clinical & administrative oversight to the transplant program, including taking care of patients before & after their kidney transplants. His other “job” is helping out around the house. Matt & his wife have known each other since high school & have two children, 7 & 5. Matt coaches his son’s basketball & soccer teams, loves yard work, & is a Mac geek. His favorite event, next to Charity Case’s concerts is the hot air Balloon Fiesta that occurs each October in Albuquerque, NM.

MD, Duke University School of Medicine, 2002

Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, 2002-2005

Nephrology, Duke University Medical Center, 2005-2008

American Board of Internal Medicine, Nephrology
American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine

Click here for technical bio

Matthew J. Ellis, MD

Medical Director of Kidney & Pancreas Transplantation
Assistant Professor of Medicine | Nephrology
Assistant Professor of Surgery | Abdominal Transplant


Kidney Real Talk w/ Eddie Z and Dr Matthew Ellis – Blood Pressure Episode