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New campaign by National Kidney Foundation of Illinois hopes to support, educate

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois launched an educational and awareness campaign to educate the public about kidney disease.

The NKFI said its mission is to raise awareness and educate people about kidney disease, but they are also making it a mission to target the high rate of kidney disease among African American, Hispanic, and Asian communities throughout the state.

Monica Fox, director of outreach and government relations for the foundation, told WAND News nearly 37 million people in the country are at risk for kidney disease. Fox explained 90% of people don't know they are at risk. She was one of those.

"I was living with kidney disease and didn't know it until I did what we call crash into dialysis," she shared.

Beginning in October, NKFI implemented a "Kidney Health For Life" campaign. It's designed to educate people of color on what kidney disease is and to promote healthy kidney nutrition and lifestyle practices. Jackie Burgess-Bishop, CEO of NKFI, said the foundation's goal is to change the trajectory of kidney disease.

"We want to fulfill our mission to help those impacted or at risk for kidney disease through prevention education and empowerment," Burgess-Bishop said.

Kidney disease often has no symptoms, according to the foundation, and in its early stages can go undetected until advanced stages. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the disease as the eighth leading cause of death among Illinoisans.

The campaign "Kidney Health for Life" will hold community health talks, either in-person or virtually, at places of worship and community events. These health talks will begin in November and continue until fall 2022.

NKFI will also host a Gift of Life Gala on Thursday. Oct. 28 in Chicago. Dr. Ngozi Ezike will be given the Gift of Life Award and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP will be awarded the Corporate Partner Award. To learn more, click here.

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