New York, NY (2007-12-04)
Aura Lemus made history last month by becoming the 100,000th participant to be screened in the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) and by doing something that she is remarkably good at -- taking care of others.
This twenty-eight-year old Inglewood resident works 60 hours a week at Costco, cares for her brother who has multiple sclerosis, helps pay the bills at home and lends a hand with chores around the house, running errands and picking up groceries for her mother. Aura even finds time for some fun, rooting on her beloved Dodgers and dancing away on Saturday nights with her friends.
The KEEP program is a free health screening for people at risk for kidney disease. The program has been presented by the National Kidney Foundation for the last 10 years in cities around the country. KEEP offers a comprehensive screening including anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure went through a health risk appraisal, blood pressure measurement, blood and urine tests and had the opportunity to speak to a kidney specialist on site.
Aura was a perfect match for KEEP, because the program highlights the three main risk factors — diabetes, high blood pressure and a history of family kidney disease — two of which drove her to sign her mother up for the screening.
"My mother has high blood pressure and diabetes," Aura said. "So when I saw the KEEP announcement, I thought I would make an appointment for both of us — better safe than sorry. The National Kidney Foundation staff let me know that a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure puts me at risk as well."
People who belong to certain minority groups, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or Pacific Islanders, are at increased risk for Chronic Kidney Disease — another reason Aura went to the screening. "Being a Latina means I am part of that high risk group and I just wanted to take some precautions. It is always better to be educated about potential risks than be surprised later on," Aura said. "This screening was so important not only for my family, but for the many people who are at risk and don't even know it."
Aura felt honored to be the 100,000th participant at the screening. She wants to make sure the message of early detection and prevention reaches as many people as possible.
"I need to stay healthy for my family, especially for my mother and younger brother," Aura said. "Besides, who else is going to cheer on the Dodgers when they make it to the World Series next year?"