ROCKVILLE, Md., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 31 million Americans are living with kidney disease, and most are unaware they have it. The American Kidney Fund (AKF), the nation's leading nonprofit serving people with and at-risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), is putting the spotlight on this silent killer during Kidney Month in March with a range of initiatives designed to inform, educate, inspire and advocate.
CKD is an often-preventable condition that can go undetected until it becomes life-threatening. For Kidney Month, AKF has planned activities to inform and inspire at-risk individuals, policy makers and the public about the enormous public health threat of kidney disease:
Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill: On Wednesday, March 8, 18 members of AKF's Advocacy Network from 13 states will come to Washington to meet with their elected representatives to discuss the changing health care landscape and the importance of preserving the ability of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to remain insured with charitable assistance from nonprofits like AKF. As part of the March 8 Advocacy Day, AKF will hold a briefing at 9:30 a.m. in 1539 Longworth House Office Building; four patient-advocates will discuss their experiences with charitable premium assistance.
Free health screenings: AKF will provide free health screenings in three cities in March. On March 4, at The St. Paul Baptist Church Men's Ministry and Boys Health Fair in Washington, D.C., AKF will provide a blood test to check kidney function and kidney health education. At exhibits at the Southern Women's Shows in Memphis, Tennessee (March 10-12), and Richmond, Virginia (March 17-19), AKF will offer free health screenings and kidney health information. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure, accounting for about two-thirds of all cases. In Memphis, AKF will offer free blood pressure screenings; in Richmond, attendees will receive free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings.
'Climb Your Everest' campaign: If there were an award for "extreme fundraising," Justin Condon would take the prize. In late March, Condon will depart for an expedition to climb Mount Everest to raise money for AKF in memory of his father, who died of kidney disease. All month, the AKF "Climb Your Everest" campaign will encourage people to join the KIDNEYNATION community of fundraisers and challenge themselves to find their own creative ways of raising money to support AKF's mission.
Free webinar for patients and caregivers: Navigating the health care system as a patient can be challenging, but particularly so for dialysis or transplant patients who often need to coordinate their care with many different doctors. AKF's free webinar on March 28, "A patient's perspective: Be your own advocate," will be led by Eric Sebastian Dolby Sr., a kidney transplant recipient who is also a nurse, offering his insights into how patients can best advocate for themselves.
Calendar Kids cover online voting: An online contest to select the cover art for AKF's 2018 calendar will begin March 20. Thirteen drawings by pediatric kidney patients from across the country have been selected to appear in the calendar, but it's up to the public to select the cover winner. 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—will celebrate patients who are determined to live full lives despite the challenges of living with kidney disease or kidney failure, using the hashtag #KidneyDiseaseWontWin. The AKF blog, Kidney Today, will clear up some common misperceptions about kidney disease and offer inspirational stories of courage and determination.
"Kidney disease is so poorly understood, yet 1 in 3 Americans is at risk," said LaVarne Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. "Kidney Month gives us an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on this disease on a national stage. Through knowledge, we can help empower everyone at risk for kidney disease to take steps to help prevent it."
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 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.
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SOURCE American Kidney Fund