March Is National Kidney Month: American Kidney Fund Spotlights Silent Killer Affecting 31 Million Americans


AKF to conduct advocacy, screening, and education programs to increase awareness of kidney disease

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (February 29, 2016) – March is National Kidney Month, a time for Americans to focus on chronic kidney disease (CKD), a silent killer that can go undetected until it becomes life-threatening. Often preventable, CKD is the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States and affects 31 million Americans, most of whom are unaware that they have it.

“We urge the public to pay more attention to kidney health,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to ensure that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. “With so many Americans living with kidney disease and unaware of it, and so many more at risk due to diabetes, hypertension, and other factors, it’s critical that we elevate kidney disease in the national dialogue.”

During National Kidney Month, the American Kidney Fund will highlight the impact of CKD by engaging in a host of activities, including:

  • AKF Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill—On March 2, AKF’s kidney patient-advocates from around the country will meet with Congressional offices to urge the federal government to take swift and decisive action that will protect the rights of chronically ill individuals who rely on financial assistance from health charities. Insurance companies increasingly are refusing to accept health insurance premium payments from AKF and other nonprofits, a practice which is jeopardizing health coverage for many low-income individuals who have long counted on this assistance to stay insured.  
  • Chronic kidney disease webinar—AKF’s Chair of Medical Affairs, Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez, will launch the organization’s new webinar series for patients and caregivers on March 29. The free, 60-minute online presentation, “Chronic Kidney Disease: A General Overview and Keys for Successful Management,” will explain the stages of chronic kidney disease, dialysis treatment options and how to get a kidney transplant.
  • Kidney health screenings and education—AKF will hold its first Kidney Action Day® of the year in Alabama on March 19, and also will provide free health screenings at locations in Memphis, Baltimore, and Silver Spring, Maryland. Locations and details are available on the AKF website.
  • Calendar Kids cover online voting—An online contest to select the cover art for AKF’s 2017 calendar will begin March 14. Thirteen drawings by children with kidney disease have been selected to appear in the calendar, but it’s up to the public to select the cover winner. Thousands of people vote each year in this contest. The child whose art receives the most votes will visit Washington this fall to be honored at AKF’s annual gala, The Hope Affair.
  • Social media campaign—Throughout the month, AKF’s social media channels—Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—along with its blog, Kidney Today, will celebrate patients who are living full lives despite the challenges of living with kidney disease or kidney failure.
  • Support AKF—AKF invites supporters to fundraise during the month of March as part of AKF’s KIDNEYNATION grassroots fundraising platform. Supporters of AKF also may choose to make a one-time gift that will be matched by a generous donor, up to $50,000. All proceeds from KIDNEYNATION and individual one-time donations help AKF continue to provide financial support to patients in need, and to deliver programs that educate, build awareness, and drive advocacy.

For more information about the American Kidney Fund’s National Kidney Month activities, visit


About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 31 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund fulfills its mission by providing a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

AKF helps 1 out of every 5 U.S. dialysis patients with treatment-related expenses. More than 93,000 patients in all 50 states received AKF grants last year. AKF invests in clinical research to improve outcomes for kidney patients, and fights tirelessly on Capitol Hill for legislation and policies supporting the issues that are important to kidney patients. To address the enormous public health threat of kidney disease, AKF provides public and professional health education materials and courses, the Kidney Action Day® community outreach program, a Kidney Health Educator program, and a toll-free health information HelpLine (866.300.2900). AKF’s grassroots fundraising platform, KIDNEYNATION, unites Americans who are raising funds to support the organization’s mission.

AKF spends 97 cents of every donated dollar on programs and services. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar.

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