NBA World Champion Alonzo Mourning is used to teamwork on the court. But his successful rebound from kidney disease has led to the ultimate assist on the home front as well. Now his wife, Tracy Wilson Mourning, is scoring points through a partnership with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) aimed at raising awareness about the importance of early detection for chronic kidney disease and the need for organ donors.
Tracy is featured in a new public service campaign encouraging women to take care of their family’s health, learn the risk factors and make sure their loved ones check out their kidneys. She’s also teaming up with the NKF for a number of initiatives, including the Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), a free kidney health screening program designed to help people at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) receive early diagnosis and treatment. Her husband credits early detection for his ultimate victory over the disease since he was able to take action before his kidneys were too badly damaged.
Chronic kidney disease affects one in nine American adults, many of whom don’t even know they have it, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Another 20 million are at risk of developing kidney disease, yet most are unaware of what the risk factors are. “Early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease, including lifestyle changes and medications, may slow or prevent its progression to kidney failure,” says Joseph Vassalotti, MD, National Kidney Foundation Chief Medical Officer.
As Tracy points out in the public service spots, anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure is at risk and should get kidney function checked with three simple tests. The KEEP screenings, available free in cities across the U.S., provide those tests for Americans at risk.
For those who are already in kidney failure, Tracy is helping boost organ donor rates nationwide. She has designed an exclusive tee shirt through her Honey Child Clothing Collection, that will raise awareness about the life-saving power of organ donation. The $20 tee shirt’s slogan is “Share Your Spare” and proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation and Zo’s Fund for Life.
“It is so important to educate about the warning signs of kidney disease, “says Tracy, “Its also key that women take charge of their families’ health by encouraging their husbands to visit the doctor, take routine physicals and make their health a priority.”
The TV and radio spots will be distributed to hundreds of stations around the country and aired on the jumbotron during Miami Heat basketball games.
Zo’s Fund for Life was started in October of 2000 when Mourning was first diagnosed with his kidney disease Focal Glomerulosclerosis. The Foundation focuses on funding research to help find a cure for kidney disease, education for both doctors and patients and helping with the necessary and expensive medication that so many patients need to continue to fight the battle. For more information about Zo’s Fund for Life, visit www.zosfundforlife.org.
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.