Actor, activist, entrepreneur, producer Wilmer Valderrama joins in advocating for kidney health
Washington, D.C., – March 2, 2021 — Today the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) hosts its 8th Annual Kidney Patient Summit, bringing more than 230 advocates from kidney organizations across the U.S. together virtually. Joined by actor, activist, entrepreneur and producer Wilmer Valderrama, kidney advocates will meet with their Congressional delegations to inspire action for kidney disease.
As COVID-19 creates more kidney patients, our message to lawmakers is more urgent than ever. Advocates representing nearly all 50 states will share their stories and urge Members of Congress to advance kidney disease prevention, early detection, treatment, research, and access to transplants, including living organ donation. NKF patient-advocates will be joined by advocates from Home Dialyzors United, Nephcure Kidney International, the Alport Syndrome Foundation, IGA Nephropathy Foundation of America, and PKD Foundation to advance public policies that will promote better kidney health for all Americans.
Specifically, advocates will be asking policymakers to: increase federal investment in programs that promote kidney disease research, awareness, and early detection; support the Living Donor Protection Act (S. 377 and HR 1255), which would prohibit discrimination against living donors in life, disability, and long-term care insurance; and support the Covering all Reasonable Expenses (CARE) for Home Dialysis Act to eliminate barriers to accessing all treatment options for dialysis patients.
Wilmer Valderrama will once again share his personal story with lawmakers of having close family members with both diabetes and high blood pressure, two of the most common risk factors for developing kidney disease. “1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for developing kidney disease and most aren’t aware that having diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity or family history of kidney disease increases their risk of developing it. That is why I am proud to lend my voice to promoting awareness and early detection of kidney disease, especially in traditionally under-served communities.”
A pre-summit kickoff consisting of virtual training meetings was held on Thursday, February 25 to empower advocates, their families, and care partners and help them best use their collective vocies and experiences related to kidney disease to champion NKF legislative priorities.
“The Kidney Patient Summit gives patients and advocates an opportunity to fight passionately for legislation that improves the lives of those with kidney disease,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient. “There are 37 million adults in the U.S. living with kidney disease. This year, more than ever before, we must emphasize the importance of good kidney health and the unique risk and burden kidney patients face with COVID-19.”
The Kidney Patient Summit is focused on individuals who have kidney disease, dialysis patients, living donors, family members and care partners, all united by the affirmation and hashtag “My Kidneys, My Life” (#MyKidneysMyLife) to underscore the direct relationship between having at least one healthy kidney and living at all. Advocates will emphasize this message during personal meetings with their Congressional delegations on Tuesday, March 2nd.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. 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 Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.