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Tenee Hawkins 
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing 

American Kidney Fund Pairs up with Houstonians to Fight Kidney Disease

Organization Offers Free Health Screenings and Walkathon at Kidney Action Day to Raise Awareness of Kidney Disease in At-Risk Community

HOUSTON – Nov. 18, 2013 – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) hosted its annual Kidney Action Day at Discovery Green in Houston on Sunday, November 17. The free event featured remarks from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, health screenings, entertainment, healthy food samples and the Kidney Action Day Walk. At the event more than 260 Houstonians received health screenings and more than 500 walkers participated in the walkathon. This year’s event also offered the Pair Up Promise, as part of the American Kidney Fund’s Pair Up public awareness campaign. Participants were able to sign the Pair Up Promise and pledge to pursue a healthy lifestyle and prevent kidney disease.

The event brought together hundreds of local health advocates, patients and members of the community to raise awareness for 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 chronic kidney disease (CKD).

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. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD, but there are other major risk factors, such as having heart disease, being over 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.

“The rates of kidney disease in Houston and throughout the state of Texas are alarming,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Education and awareness are vital first steps in reducing the risk of developing this devastating disease. Houstonians came out to Discovery Green today to support other Houstonians living with the disease, raise awareness of its devastating effects, and give hope and encouragement to those who tackle the disease everyday. It’s time for all of us to stand up against kidney disease and spread the word to those around us.”

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 screenings is a key factor in slowing or stopping its progression. 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 individuals 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’s much-needed support to those in the greater Houston area suffering from CKD has made a tremendous impact on thousands of Houstonians’ lives,” said Dr. Atiq Dada, Texas nephrologist. “Early detection is key when dealing with this silent killer and the American Kidney Fund’s generous grants and events like today’s Kidney Action Day promote kidney disease early awareness and education throughout our community.”

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 $4 million to patients in the Houston area. The organization also provided 27,000 free health screenings to at-risk individuals in the United States, with more than 5,000 screenings administered in Houston.

Kidney Action Day in Houston is made possible through the generous support of National Sponsor, American Renal Associates; Lead Regional Sponsor, US Renal Care, Inc.; and other friends in the communities that AKF serves.

Earlier this year, AKF held Kidney Action Days in Atlanta, Augusta, Ga., San Antonio, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

For more information on Kidney Action Day, visit

For more information on the American Kidney Fund, visit

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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

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