Birmingham Residents Fight Kidney Disease at American Kidney Fund’s Kidney Action Day


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (October 23, 2017) – Hundreds of Birmingham-area residents learned about their risks for kidney disease and what they can do to help prevent it at the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) Kidney Action Day® Sunday at Railroad Park. More than 125 attendees received free health screenings at the event, checking for diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney disease, as well as testing their kidney function.

Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty presented a proclamation from the Mayor’s office and urged those in attendance to get health screenings. State Representative Jack Williams and Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson encouraged residents to take advantage of Kidney Action Day to learn how they could help protect themselves from kidney disease, the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States.

More than 12,000 Alabama residents are living with kidney failure--including 3,300 in metro Birmingham--and nearly 9,000 of them depend on dialysis for survival.

“Kidney disease is a serious health issue in Birmingham, but we are working to help turn that around through education and awareness events like Kidney Action Day,” said Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez, a nephrologist who is an associate professor of medicine at UAB’s School of Medicine and Epidemiology and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Kidney Fund. “If your kidneys fail, you need dialysis or a transplant to live. We want to help people avoid kidney disease, and if they have it, we want to find it early so that we can treat it before it progresses to kidney failure.”

WBRC Fox 6 sports anchor Jeh Jeh Pruitt spoke to the crowd about his own experience with donating a kidney to his mother when her kidneys failed in 1995. Jamme’s Crunk Fitness took the stage to show that a high-energy workout can be a lot of fun, and entertainment was provided by UAB’s Music for the Soul and the band Just a Few Cats.

Kidney disease is an increasingly common but often-preventable condition. More than 30 million Americans have kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD. Other risk factors include having a family history of kidney 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.

CKD is known as a silent killer because it typically has no symptoms until the late stages. If an individual has developed early CKD, detection through screenings is a key factor in slowing or stopping its progression.

In 2016, the American Kidney Fund provided grants to more than 2,000 low-income Alabama kidney failure patients, including more than 500 patients in metro Birmingham. Grants from AKF help low-income individuals access the health care they need to stay alive, including dialysis and transplantation

Birmingham Kidney Action Day was made possible through the generous support of Presenting National Screening Sponsors American Renal Associates and U.S. Renal Care, Inc.; Regional Sponsors Akebia Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals ARD, and Satellite Healthcare; and Transplant Education Sponsor Novartis. For more information on the American Kidney Fund, visit

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

For more information, please visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.