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

American Kidney Fund and Patient-advocates Raise Awareness of Kidney Disease During March 7th Capitol Hill Kidney Action Day

American Kidney Fund Hosts Fourth Annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Event and Free Health Screening Alongside Patients to Mark National Kidney Month

WASHINGTON  (March 8, 2013)— Yesterday, the American Kidney Fund, alongside patient-advocates, hosted its fourth annual Kidney Action Day on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of kidney disease. The advocacy event and free health screening is the first of the American Kidney Fund’s calendar of initiatives designed to celebrate March’s National Kidney Month. Throughout the month, the organization will spearhead activities that bring awareness to at-risk individuals and educate the public about prevention efforts.

The event introduced a new component, the Pair Up Promise, to the American Kidney Fund’s Pair Up public awareness campaign. Event participants signed the Pair Up Promise, pledging to pursue a healthy lifestyle and prevent kidney disease.

Kidney Action Day was free and open to the public and Hill staffers, and provided the American Kidney Fund the opportunity to educate participants about the risks of kidney disease and its preventable nature. The event featured health screenings that checked for indicators of kidney and heart health, diabetes and other important health measures. The day also included Wii and Xbox fitness activities and free Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

“Kidney Action Day was a tremendous success and we couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate place – the nation’s capital - to launch the Pair Up Promise,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “It’s crucial for Congressional leaders, patients and at-risk individuals to come together, take the promise and spread the word about preventing kidney disease if we are to make a dent in reducing the number of Americans impacted by this severe chronic condition.”

As part of the organization’s advocacy efforts during Kidney Action Day, 11 patient-advocates were chosen from more than 1,400 members of its Advocacy Network to participate in the day’s activities. The patient-advocates met with their Congressional offices to share their stories and to discuss two key issues surrounding kidney disease: the impact kidney patients may experience as a result of Medicare cuts under sequestration, and the importance of providing lifetime immunosuppressive drug coverage to kidney transplant recipients.

Kidneys are vital organs, but, unlike our hearts and lungs, it can be hard to tell when they are not working properly,” said Rep. McDermott (D-WA). “Without regular screenings, many don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late. That’s why the free screenings hosted by the American Kidney Fund are so important. Forty million Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and at a high risk of developing kidney disease, but with awareness, prevention, and better access to critical services, they can keep their kidneys healthy.”

National Kidney Month provides an opportunity for the American Kidney Fund and partner organizations to focus on raising awareness and educating the public on prevention. Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, kidney disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. An estimated 31 million Americans are affected by kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Kidney disease has few warning signs until it’s in the advanced stages, but often may be prevented if caught early. Throughout the month, the American Kidney Fund will hold screenings and events in several cities across the country.

For more information about the American Kidney Fund and to find a screening near you, 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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