New York, NY — March 14, 2019 — Today is World Kidney Day – nearly halfway into March, National Kidney Month – and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, and others committed to promoting kidney health are reminding everyone to “Heart Your Kidneys and score a touchdown for your kidney health.”
“Heart Your Kidneys” (#HeartYourKidneys) is NKF’s ongoing public campaign designed to help elevate awareness of the kidneys to the status of other vital organs such as the heart. Most people know very little about their kidneys, including that the kidneys are located in the lower back below the ribcage – or that each person has two. Tonight, in observance of World Kidney Day, landmarks and buildings nationwide will turn orange, the signature color for kidney disease. They include New York City’s iconic Empire State Building; the Denver City and County Building in Colorado; the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis, MN; the First National Bank Building sign in St. Paul, MN; the Terminal Tower in historic, Downtown Cleveland, OH; San Francisco City Hall in California; multiple North Carolina sites, including The North Carolina Executive Mansion in Raleigh and the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion (Western Residence) in Asheville; among other prominent locations.
Leading to today’s World Kidney Day observances, NKF kicked off National Kidney Month on March 1st by launching two, new, 30-second television public service announcements (PSAs) featuring Rice, whose older brother Tom has chronic kidney disease. Rice, a three-time Super Bowl champion, who played 20 years as a wide receiver in the NFL, mentions his brother in both PSAs titled Kidney Stats and Invincible, which are being broadcast nationwide and across NKF’s social media platforms to promote kidney health and kidney disease prevention throughout March and will continue airing throughout the next year.
“It was my brother, after all, who loved, encouraged and pushed me early on by telling me that I had to make it to the NFL,” Rice said.
Other NFL superstars whose lives have been touched by kidney disease have joined Rice and NKF to promote kidney health. They include: Leon Jacobs, linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars; Xavier Su’a-Filo, guard for the Dallas Cowboys; and Donald Jones, retired wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills and a kidney transplant recipient.
"When I was diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy, I wanted to inspire others to keep pushing,” said Jones. “When I retired from the NFL due to my condition, it became clear that it was what I'm supposed to do. That's why I work so hard for kidney patients. Keep a positive mindset, and your body will follow."
Also, earlier this month on March 4th and 5th, more than 100 advocates from several kidney organizations, and representing many of the 50 states, converged on Capitol Hill for NKF’s 6th Annual Kidney Patient Summit in Washington, DC, to meet with their lawmakers and to support public policy priorities, which advance chronic kidney disease prevention, early detection, treatment, research, and access to transplants, including living organ donation. Advocates especially encouraged their legislators to strongly support The Living Donor Protection Act of 2019.
The Summit featured Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II who spoke about the work the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is doing to improve outcomes for kidney patients. Also, 11-year-old Angelica Hale from television’s America’s Got Talent! fame, a kidney transplant patient and NKF's Kid Ambassador, participated in the Summit for a second straight year with her family and inspired the audience with her powerful performance of “Fight Song” at the Summit’s closing NKF Congressional Awards Reception.
NKF urges anyone with diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of kidney disease to speak with their doctor and ask about taking the two simple tests to check their kidney health. Even if a person inherits kidney disease, they may be able to slow its progression with lifestyle changes. During March and year-round, NKF encourages the public to check out “31 Kidney Health Facts in 31 Days,” which are full of vital information, yet now using fun football puns such as, “Kidneys give your body a big assist in making red blood cells,” or “Play defense against kidney stones—stay hydrated,” among many others. Join the conversation. Help raise awareness on social media by looking for and posting #HeartYourKidneys.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about the NKF visit www.kidney.org.