News - Olympic Athlete Hits the Ground Running in the Fight Against Kidney Disease

Jon Rankin, a professional distance runner who's already logged miles in the race against kidney disease, is sprinting towards the summer 2012 Olympic Games. On this journey, he and the National Kidney Foundation have teamed up to raise money and awareness. Next up: the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in New York City on May 12th.

"I hope that my participation in the upcoming UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race in Central Park will inspire others to believe that we can overcome any challenge in our lives," says Rankin.

Back in 2008, after the Olympic Games, Rankin underwent a kidney biopsy which revealed a terminal disease known as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or FSGS. For many, this type of diagnosis would spur a career change, but Jon has used his kidney disease to re-energize his commitment to the sport of running with a newfound sense of empowerment and purpose. He exercises regularly, follows a healthy diet and visits his doctor for regular monitoring of his kidney function. He continues to make lifestyle choices that help maintain his health and prevent further kidney damage.

According to Rankin, "Receiving this diagnosis gave me a clearer understanding about how life really is short. I shouldn't take for granted what time I still have left to make my dreams come true. So even with kidney disease, I'm working to achieve my Olympic goal."

This year Rankin's determined to achieve that goal of winning the gold medal in the 1500 meter race - a dream he's held since age 15. With the 2012 Olympic Games just months away, Jon is excited to be working with the National Kidney Foundation. He'll be visiting pediatric dialysis units and encouraging kids to dream big, demonstrating by example that that kidney disease doesn't need to stand in the way of their hopes for the future. Jon will also be attending local NKF Kidney Walks to share his story and to encourage others with kidney disease to stay fit while building awareness for the cause.

To support Jon's upcoming participation in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race, you can contribute to fight kidney disease.

The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K was inaugurated in 2005 as an awareness and tribute event to Sheikh Zayed of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The former UAE president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan benefited from U.S. expertise, knowledge and research when he received a kidney transplant in 2000. Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was most proud of being a kidney transplant recipient.

The Embassy of the UAE is sponsoring this race to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, Inc. in appreciation of American doctors and US excellence in kidney transplantation.