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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    
Media Contact:
Tenee Hawkins
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing
404.658.1423
thawkins@kidneyfund.org

American Kidney Fund and Chicago Area Residents ‘Pair Up’ To Fight Kidney Disease on May 11

Organization Hosts Free Health Screening Event to Raise Awareness of Kidney Disease in the Chicago Area

CHICAGO, IL (April 30, 2013) —The American Kidney Fund (AKF) will host Kidney Action Day at Millennium Park in Chicago on Saturday, May 11, 2013, from 10 a.m.– 2 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public and will include free kidney health screenings (including blood pressure and glucose screenings), interactive fitness demos, local entertainment, children's activities and healthy food samples.

“Kidney disease is a serious health concern in the Chicago area, where many neighborhoods have prevalent rates of kidney failure well above the national average,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Kidney Action Day provides an opportunity for local residents to learn about this disease, get tested, and help spread the word to others who may be at risk. We are so pleased to have the Chicago Department of Public Health and its Healthy Chicago initiative as a strategic partner. Working together, we can empower local residents to take action for their health and prevent future cases of this chronic condition.”

“The Chicago Department of Public Health is proud to join the American Kidney Fund in bringing Kidney Action Day to Chicago,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “Kidney Action Day is a great way for residents to take part in helping Chicago become the healthiest city in the nation. I encourage all residents to join us on May 11 for Kidney Action Day, get screened and take preventative steps to protect their health.”

Kidney Action Day will bring together hundreds of local health advocates, patients and members of the greater Chicago community to raise awareness for those at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The free health screenings will check for indicators of kidney and heart health, diabetes, and other important health measures. There is no pre-registration required for those interested in participating in the screening, which is open to everyone 18 and older. Participants are encouraged to bring the whole family out to enjoy an educational and entertaining event.

It is estimated that as many as 31 million people in the United States are living with CKD, the nation’s ninth-leading cause of death. CKD is known as a silent killer because it usually presents no symptoms in the early stages, making screening essential for those who are at risk—particularly those who have the key risk factors of diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of CKD. Other common risks for kidney disease include having heart disease, being over age 60, or being African American, Asian American, Native American, or of Hispanic ethnicity.

CKD is an often-preventable health condition. If an individual has developed early CKD, detection through testing is a key factor in slowing or stopping the progression of the disease. Left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. In many neighborhoods in Chicago, kidney failure rates are nearly double the U.S. average.

Because prevention and early detection are vital to keeping at-risk individuals in good health, AKF’s national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease, urges the public to learn if they’re at risk for kidney disease and to spread the word to friends or loved ones who also may be at risk. As part of Pair Up, AKF educates the public about risk factors and offers Kidney Action Days and other free kidney health screenings in cities nationwide.

The American Kidney Fund is dedicated to fighting kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, education and prevention efforts. In 2012, AKF provided almost $190 million in treatment-related assistance to dialysis patients across the country and more than $7.9 million to patients in Illinois.

Kidney Action Day is made possible through the generous support of National Sponsor American Renal Associates, Lead Regional Sponsor U.S. Renal Care, Inc., Strategic Partner Chicago Department of Public Health and other friends in the communities AKF serves. For more information on Chicago Kidney Action Day, visit http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-action-day/locations/chicago.html

For more information on the American Kidney Fund, visit www.kidneyfund.org.

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About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund fights kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, health education and prevention efforts. It leads the nation in charitable assistance to dialysis patients. Last year, nearly 84,000 people—1 out of every 5 U.S. dialysis patients—received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. The American Kidney Fund reaches millions of people annually through its national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease; free kidney health screenings; health education materials and courses; online outreach, and a toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900). For more information, visit www.kidneyfund.org.

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