CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 3,000 people in Illinois are currently on the waiting list to receive the life-saving donation of a kidney.
Sunday the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois will host its annual Walk for Kidneys at Soldier Field to raise awareness for chronic kidney disease.
According to Dr. Dinee Simpson, a transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 30 million American adults, or 13% of the American population, have chronic kidney disease.
Uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease , Simpson says.
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
Simpson, the first and only African American female transplant surgeon in Illinois, focuses on educating the African American community and addressing the disparities in awareness and care.
Simpson says African Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney disease, and 35% of all American adults with kidney failure are African American. African Americans are also twice as likely to have diabetes. Almost half of all African American have high blood pressure.
Right now more then 3,300 people in Illinois are waiting for kidney transplants, and the wait for a deceased donor kidney is five to eight years, but what Simpson says a lot of people don’t know is that donors can be living donors in what’s known as a paired kidney exchange.
Living donors can be family members, friends or even strangers.
People can register Sunday at the south entrance of Soldier Field starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Walk for Kidneys will also include activities for all ages.
The walk begins at 10 a.m. and will take place rain or shine.
More information can be found at nkfi.org.