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Contact:
Maureen O’Connell
Cone Inc.
617-939-8330

Tenee M. Hawkins
American Kidney Fund
404.658.1423

For Immediate Release

American Kidney Fund Partners with Laila Ali to Launch Pair Up,
a New National Campaign Empowering Women
in the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease  

New Research Reveals Lack of Kidney Disease Awareness is Putting Americans’ Health at Risk   
 

NEW YORK, September 22, 2011 – The American Kidney Fund today launches a national campaign to raise awareness about kidney disease, a serious and increasingly common condition that is damaging the health of as many as 31 million Americans. Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease encourages women to take two simple, yet powerful actions: learn if they’re at risk for kidney disease; and spread the word about kidney disease to loved ones who also may be at risk. The launch of Pair Up coincides with the release of a national survey revealing that most Americans who care for their loved ones’ health are unaware that diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease.

According to the American Kidney Fund, most cases of kidney disease could be prevented. Kidney disease has few warning signs in its early stages, and 9 out of 10 people with early kidney disease don’t know they have it. Kidney disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death.

Laila Ali, American Kidney Fund Launch Pair Up in Times Square September 22

Celebrity health champion Laila Ali, co-host of the new ABC television show Everyday Health, is joining forces with the American Kidney Fund to help raise awareness of the issue among women nationwide. “My family, like millions of others, has dealt with the leading causes of kidney disease— diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Ali.  “That’s why I’m proud to partner with the American Kidney Fund to launch the Pair Up campaign. I hope to inspire others to join me in the fight to prevent this devastating disease.”

Ali will join the American Kidney Fund to kick off the Pair Up campaign this morning at 9:30 a.m. EDT at Military Island in Times Square. Ali and the American Kidney Fund will share details about Pair Up and ceremoniously launch the campaign by lighting up the billboard above Times Square Studio.

“Women are critically important in the fight against kidney disease because they tend to be the primary healthcare decision-makers for their families,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Through the Pair Up campaign, we hope to empower women to become more effective drivers of kidney disease awareness and prevention for themselves and their loved ones who may be at risk.”

People who want to take part in the fight against kidney disease may join the Pair Up campaign by logging on to PairUpNow.org and taking the Pair Up Challenge, an interactive quiz that provides education about common risk factors for kidney disease.

Lack of Knowledge Puts Americans’ Health at Risk

New research commissioned by the American Kidney Fund revealed that the majority of Americans who care for their loved ones’ health are unaware that diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease:

  • Most survey respondents (85 percent) could not name high blood pressure as a leading cause of kidney disease. The majority (74 percent) of all respondents have a loved one with high blood pressure
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents could not name diabetes as a leading cause of kidney disease, despite the fact that 55 percent of respondents have a loved one with diabetes.

Even those respondents who have personally been diagnosed with high blood pressure and/or diabetes (32 percent) seemed unclear of their risk for kidney disease:

  • More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they have not been told by a doctor that they are at risk for kidney disease
  • One in four (27 percent) said their doctor has not tested how well their kidneys are working

The survey also revealed that education and awareness are key drivers for healthy behavior change.  After survey participants were informed that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading risk factors for kidney disease, 84 percent say that they are likely to encourage loved ones with diabetes or high blood pressure to learn more about their risks for kidney disease, and 86 percent are likely to encourage loved ones with diabetes or high blood pressure to get a health check-up.

“It’s clear from our research that elevating awareness of kidney disease and its risk factors will help us fight the disease and help lead Americans to better health habits,” said Burton. “The American Kidney Fund is dedicated to fighting kidney disease with education and awareness, through the support of our sponsors and supporters.”

Pair Up builds on the American Kidney Fund’s 40-year history of fighting kidney disease through direct financial support to dialysis patients in need; health education; and prevention efforts. The supporting sponsors of the Pair Up campaign are American Renal Associates, Amgen Inc., Sanofi and U.S. Renal Care.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association, the American Society of Hypertension, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., are organizational partners of Pair Up.

For more information, visit PairUpNow.org.  

About the American Kidney Fund
The mission of the American Kidney Fund is to fight kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need; health education; and prevention efforts. The American Kidney Fund leads the nation in providing charitable assistance to dialysis patients who need help with the costs associated with treating kidney failure. Last year, 101,000 people—1 out of every 4 dialysis patients in the United States—received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. Millions of people nationwide benefit annually from the American Kidney Fund’s efforts to fight kidney disease through public awareness campaigns, free health screenings, health education materials and courses, online outreach, and toll-free health information HelpLine (866.300.2900).

As a nine-time recipient of the top “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator, the American Kidney Fund is ranked among the top 1 percent of charities nationwide for fiscal accountability. In addition, the American Kidney Fund holds an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy; adheres to the National Health Council Standards of Excellence; and is a member of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, visit www.kidneyfund.org.

About the 2011 American Kidney Fund Pair Up Survey
The American Kidney Fund commissioned Ipsos Public Affairs to conduct the 2011 American Kidney Fund Pair Up Survey in July 2011. Ipsos interviewed online a national sample of 1,000 of U.S. residents, ages 35-65, who take care of or provide assistance to family members, friends, or other loved ones when they are sick or have special medical needs.  Weighting for the 2011 American Kidney Fund Pair Up Survey was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.


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