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Women’s group gives $20,000 to improve education on kidney disease

A special $20,000 grant from the Central Area of The Links, Inc., part of a national organization of professional women of color, is helping to boost an effort in the South Suburbs to share information on kidney disease.

The Black Kidney Awareness Resources and Education (KARE) project is being directed by the South Suburban Chicago chapter of Links.

“The purpose of this nine-month project is to raise awareness about kidney disease in the Black community because Black Americans have some of the highest incidence rates of diabetes and high blood pressure – the two leading causes of kidney disease,” said Monica Fox of Flossmoor, who serves as director of outreach and government relations for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. “In fact, Black adults in the United States are at increased risk of developing kidney disease at rates far exceeding those for white adults, and are four times more likely to develop kidney failure than their white counterparts. Despite these staggering statistics, many Americans are unaware they have kidney disease.”

The South Suburban Chicago Links group had its KidneyMobile available for screenings at South Suburban College and at the Calumet City library in November. A typical screening allows participants to receive a battery of free, comprehensive medical tests, and the opportunity to review their screening results with a trained medical professional on site.

“We are so happy to be participating in this important project because results from these screenings are startling,” said Mallory Sutton, Links chapter president.

From the first screenings, “about 70% of attendees had results that put them at risk for kidney failure and one attendee received news that he was actually in stage 3 kidney disease and was referred to the emergency room and was admitted,” she said.

People who were screened were invited to participate in a 12-week program geared towards improving key health outcomes to increase overall health and reduce the risk of kidney disease.

Sutton said the program, Linking Because We KARE, will include education, exercise classes, cooking demos, accountability touchpoints and incentives. Participants will use the Powered By Action app to receive all information and stay connected to the group.

Anyone interested in joining the group should email [email protected] or contact Monica Fox at 708-989-6664.

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