Mark McGwire Teams up With the National Kidney Foundation

New York, NY
October 22, 1999

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) today announced the launch of a TV and radio public service campaign featuring baseball star Mark McGwire on the issue of bed-wetting, or enuresis. On the public service announcement (PSA), which is being broadcast on stations across the country, Mr. McGwire alerts families to the fact that bed-wetting is a medical condition for which children should never be punished.

The PSA plays off the slugger's on-field accomplishments by telling parents that McGwire's record-breaking home run feats pale in comparison to what they can achieve by helping their own children deal with bed-wetting. In the spot, McGwire urges parents to help their kids "hit a home run" by talking to their doctors about available treatment options or calling the NKF's toll-free hotline for information about the condition.

"The first step in treating bed-wetting is to have an open dialogue about the condition," says Gil Rushton, MD, chairman of the National Kidney Foundation's Enuresis Committee. "For children and their parents to see a hero like Mark McGwire advocating such discussion, it can only help families want to learn the facts."

Although bed-wetting affects nearly 7 million American children, it still remains one of the more stigmatized childhood conditions. Many families are too embarrassed to discuss it with their child's doctor and therefore are not aware of the available treatment options. As a result, children continue to needlessly suffer and refrain from common activities, such as sleepovers or summer camp.

In 1998, McGwire drew praise from the healthcare and parenting communities when he joined forces with the NKF on a print PSA that ran in hundreds of magazines and newspapers across the country. The broadcast PSAs aim to heighten public awareness and reach millions of people through TV and radio. In addition, a version of the PSA will appear on various parenting and healthcare web sites, including the NKF site at www.kidney.org.

Distinguished for lending his support to various causes, McGwire's stance on children's welfare has been well-chronicled. Among his charitable endeavors, McGwire supports literacy programs for children, and has created the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children, an organization dedicated to the prevention and understanding of child abuse.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.