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First area Kidney Walk to take place in Forest Park

One in eight adults in Massachusetts are living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and most don't even know it. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is asking the public to help in the fight against CKD. The NKF along with Honorary Walk Chair Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno is hosting the first Annual Kidney Walk at Forest Park in Springfield on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. "Twenty-six million people have chronic kidney disease. Millions more are at risk," Linda Plazonja, president of the NKF's Mass., Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine division, said. "The Kidney Walk will draw attention to the importance of early detection for those at risk while raising funds for kidney patient and their families and increasing awareness of organ donation and transplantation." The Springfield Kidney Walk grew out of the personal experience of the Shubrick family who are Springfield residents and whose daughter Rhodaja received a kidney transplant from her father Rodrick. In 2002, Rhodaja, then 12 years old, was diagnosed with CKD. Fortunately, her dad proved to be a match for organ donation. Rhodaja underwent a successful transplant later that year. This ordeal motivated the Shubrick family to increase awareness of CKD and organ transplantation in the Springfield community and to raise funds for research and patient services. They approached the NKF about doing an event, and the Springfield Kidney Walk was born. "After waging the pain and struggle that our daughter endured during this crisis, we thought about the many other families that have to deal with the issues of kidney disease in their children and other family members. We wanted to do something to help," said Rhodaja's mother, Marvenia Shubrick. "We wanted to bring attention to the over 2,900 people in Massachusetts still waiting for an organ transplant." Walkers are invited to join the fun by walking individually or by forming a team. The walk is a non-competitive, 5K stroll through Forest Park with a variety of activities for adults, families and kids of all ages, including clowns, face painting, DJ, food and more. For registration information, call the National Kidney Foundation at 800-542-4001 or visit www.kidneyhealth.org.

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