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WTVO: Bringing awareness to minorities impacted by kidney disease

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois hosted an informational meeting about kidney disease Sunday.

It was part of a campaign called “Kidney Health for Life,” which is supposed to bring awareness to African American, Hispanic and Asian populations that are more impacted by the disease. Organizers said that everything starts with education. They wanted to reach a captive audience for this campaign, and what better way to do that than through the church.

“You know the old adage, ‘if you knew better, you’d do better,’ so we’re here to make sure people understand the risk,” said Minister Sandra Robinson-Cunningham, national faith-based coordinator for GoldStar Communications.

Robinson-Cunningham partnered with Sara Jane Castro, director of marketing and communications for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, to educate people across the state about kidney disease. They hosts a community health talk at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday.

“1 in 3 people are at risk, and that number has increased in Black and brown communities,” Castro said.

Dr. John Maynard is a nephrologist, or kidney specialist. He said that cultural foods is only part of the reason that certain populations are more at risk.

“Kidney disease can be more common in ethnic groups because of more diabetes, more hypertension, less access to medical care, and these medical, physical and social problems just come together and we see more chronic kidney disease and less treatment,” Maynard said.

St. Luke Baptist Church Pastor Louis Malone knows about that all too well. He said that it is not just about religion at the church.

“I contracted Agent Orange in Vietnam, so a few years ago diabetes came up, high blood pressure a little bit before that, about three years before that,” Malone said. “It’s important for me as well because I’m in the same situation, and there are many in our congregation that are in the same situation, so we want to make sure we get as much information as we can to them.”

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and no smoking are ways to help the kidney.

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