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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 Hosts Health Event To Fight Kidney Disease in DC Metro Region on June 22

Organization Pairs Up with Local Residents, Community Health Organizations and Elected Officials to Offer Health Screening Event and Walkathon to Raise Awareness of Kidney Disease

ROCKVILLE, MD (June, 17, 2013) —The American Kidney Fund (AKF) will host its annual Kidney Action Day, including a fundraising walkathon, at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Md., on Saturday, June 22, 2013 from 9 a.m.– 2 p.m.  The free event, the third Kidney Action Day in the nation this year, is open to the public and will feature health screenings, entertainment, family-friendly activities, food and exercise demonstrations, and remarks from Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD).

“The rates of kidney disease are progressing at an alarming rate in the Washington, D.C., metro area,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “We encourage local residents to come out and learn their risk factors, get tested, and help spread the word to their friends and family. Education and awareness are the first steps to fighting back against this devastating disease.”

Kidney Action Day will bring together hundreds of local health advocates, patients and members of the community to raise awareness of kidney disease. The funds raised through the Kidney Action Day Walk will support the many programs and services of AKF that provide critical resources to help both at-risk individuals and those living with this chronic condition. From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., walkers and the general public are invited to participate in free health screenings, healthy food samples, fitness demonstrations, and other activities to increase awareness of kidney disease. 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. Screenings are open to members of the public 18 and older.

This year, the organization will ask attendees to make the Pair Up Promise, part of the American Kidney Fund’s public awareness campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease. The Pair Up Promise is a pledge to pursue a healthy lifestyle and prevent kidney disease based on three simple actions: adding healthier lifestyle choices; subtracting things that are not healthy and can contribute to kidney disease; and spreading the word to others.

It is estimated that as many as 31 million people in the United States are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the nation’s ninth-leading cause of death. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD, but there are other major risk factors including having heart disease, being over age 60, and being African American, Asian American, Native American, or of Hispanic ethnicity. Left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and death. In the Washington, D.C., metro region, the incidence rate is more than twice the national average.

CKD, known as a silent killer because it typically has no symptoms until the late stages, 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. Because prevention and early detection are vital to keeping at-risk individuals in good health, AKF’s Pair Up campaign 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 free kidney disease 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 nearly $180 million in treatment-related assistance to dialysis patients across the country and more than $5.8 million to patients in D.C. and Maryland. The organization also conducted 27,000 free health screenings to at-risk individuals in the United States, with more than 2,900 screenings administered locally.

Kidney Action Day is made possible through the generous support of National Sponsor American Renal Associates, Lead Regional Sponsor U.S. Renal Care, Inc., Community Sponsors Genentech and Novartis, and other friends in the communities AKF serves.

Upcoming Kidney Action Days for 2013 are: Augusta, Ga., on June 29, San Antonio on October 5, Atlanta on November 2, and Houston on November 17. AKF held Kidney Action Days in Philadelphia on May 3 and in Chicago on May 11.

For more information on Kidney Action Day in metro Washington, D.C., visit http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-action-day/locations/washington-dc.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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