(LUTHERVILLE, MD – April 3, 2017) – The National Kidney Foundation of Maryland will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Greater Baltimore Kidney Walk at a new venue with a celebrity performance and movie premiere.
The signature event will take place Sunday, Apr. 30, at UMBC in Catonsville (1000 Hilltop Cir., 21250) with an estimated 5,000 people in attendance including kidney patients, friends and family members and others wanting to make an impact on a growing public health problem.
“Kidney Walk raises awareness of kidney disease – the 9th leading cause of death in the United States, calls attention to the need for organ donation and funds lifesaving programs,” said Event Corporate Chair Lauren Asghari (founding partner of Alderson Loop, LLC).
“The venue change will allow NKF-MD to serve approximately 200 more patients through its Patient Emergency Assistance, free jewelry and Nutritional Supplement programs,” she added. “We encourage individuals, families and the medical and corporate communities to join us for an inspiring morning that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”
International Recording Artist Philadelphia Freeway, best known for being signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, is the Walk’s celebrity ambassador. He will give a special Rap performance and treat Walk participants to the world premiere of Free Will, a documentary detailing his battle with kidney disease and giving fans a personal, behind-the-scenes look of his life and career with glimpses of his fight against his medical issues. With appearances by DJ Khaled, 2Chains, Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, Lenny S., Jay Electronica and more, it also discusses Freeway’s feelings about dialysis and how it affects his music career.
“I am thrilled to partner with the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland and other chapters across the country to use my voice and cultural influence in raising awareness on kidney disease, which affects 26 million people,” said Freeway, who received the National Kidney Foundation Patient Advocacy Award.
“Health is wealth and it’s important to get checked early for kidney disease so you may not have to experience pain and fatigue and undergo dialysis like I’m doing now,” he added. “I look forward to spreading this message to all of Baltimore. Come out and meet me at Kidney Walk!”
Check in will begin at 9 a.m. in Parking Lot 22, where guests will be greeted by a cast of characters and mascots. Walkers are encouraged to dress as their favorite comic book, cartoon, game or pop culture character for the 2nd annual KidneyCon experience featuring a costume contest, t-shirt decorating, prizes, giveaways and other fun ways to recognize kidney survivors and donors as superheroes.
Following warm-up exercises and a brief opening ceremony emceed by WJZ-TV Anchor Mary Bubala, the 2-mile Walk will kick off at 10 a.m. Afterward, everyone can enjoy the Freeway performance and documentary launch, as well as complimentary refreshments, music and the Home Depot KidsZone featuring children’s building projects, face painting, coloring and temporary tattoos.
Friends, families and companies are encouraged to form Kidney Walk teams. Participation is free. Those raising $100 or more will receive a Walk t-shirt.
New this year, 1) individuals can honor someone they love and be a “Kidney Walk Superhero” by making a $150 contribution and 2) corporate leaders can become Kidney Walk Executive Challenge (KWEC) Champions by raising $2,000 or more. HERO and KWEC signs will be placed along the walk route, and the top KWEC Champions also will be recognized from the stage.
In addition to the Greater Baltimore Kidney Walk, NKF-MD will hold the Southern Delaware Kidney Walk, Apr. 30, at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes and the Salisbury Kidney Walk, May 7, at Winterplace Park.
Relypsa is a national multi-market sponsor. Local presenting sponsor, Mid-Atlantic Nephrology Associates, P.A. will distribute caps to kidney patients, transplant donors and recipients at all three walks so they stand out in the crowd.
Top sponsors of the Baltimore Walk include Alderson Loop, Allmond & Company LLC, BG&E, Harford Mutual Insurance Company, Independent Dialysis Foundation, Inc., Kelly & Associates Insurance Group/KELLY Payroll (KELLY), MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Northern Pharmacy, That Mattress Place and University of Maryland Medical Center.
More than 6,000 people participated in the 2016 Maryland and Delaware Kidney Walk events, which raised $364,000. Nationally, nearly 60,000 walkers participate each year to raise over $6 million, with more than 80 cents of every dollar donated directly supporting programs and services.
Serving central and western Maryland, the Delmarva Peninsula and portions of Virginia and West Virginia, the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland is the area’s only voluntary health agency 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. For more information, visit www.kidneymd.org.