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Footballer Jerry Rice Makes Big Play For Kidney Health

Staying Connected with Social Media

Football icon Jerry Rice is working with theNational Kidney Foundation to promote kidney health

(NAPSI)—Fans might think Jerry Rice, at 56, should be satisfied tosail silently into the sunset reflecting on his Pro Football Hall of Famestatus, three Super Bowl rings, and two decades in the National FootballLeague. Indeed, the iconic wide receiver retired his professional cleatsyears ago.


Yet, he still uses his youthful, seemingly boundless energy to keepcarrying the ball for the cause closest to his heart: tackling chronic kidneydisease (CKD). “My brother Tom has CKD,” Rice said. “I’vewatched him go to dialysis three days a week for years, which is really hardon the body. He’s a very positive individual. Still, sometimes I spendthe long hours that he endures just sitting by his side. It was my brother,after all, who loved, encouraged and pushed me early on by telling me that Ihad to make it to the NFL.”


Getting The Word Out


To that end, in a new PSA series for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)to be broadcast nationwide, Rice focuses on promoting kidney health andraising awareness of kidney disease. The NKF is the largest, mostcomprehensive and long-standing organization dedicated to the awareness,prevention and treatment of kidney disease.


Given Rice’s genuine concern about and personal connection to thedisease, NKF enlisted the widely beloved sports legend to help to speak tothe general public as well as kidney patients. He already has lots ofpractice doing so up close and personally whenever he joins his brother at aneighborhood dialysis center in Jackson, Miss.


“I’d go there to mainly be with my brother, of course, but Ialways walk around the room to say hello and socialize with the otherdialysis patients,” Rice said. “You don’t realize it untilyou see for yourself in centers that there are lots of people on dialysis. Itputs everything in perspective whenever I start complaining. When I visit thedialysis center, people often know who I am and are happy to see me, and if Ican bring a smile to some faces and make them forget even for a second, thatwarms my heart. That’s how I felt playing football, seeing the smilesin the stands and helping people to forget problems for a little while.”


Rice is also part of NKF’s continuing and growing Heart Your Kidneys(#HeartYourKidneys) public campaign to help elevate awareness of the kidneysto the status of other vital organs such as the heart. He is amazed that mostpeople know very little about their kidneys and that some don’t knowthe kidneys are located in the lower back below the rib cage—or thateach person has two. Rice hopes his new PSAs with NKF will help change that.


“It’s important to me to keep working hard to get the word outwith NKF, because you can see that this really hits home for me in more waysthan one,” Rice said.


Kidney Facts And Jerry Rice’sTips


• African Americans are three times more likely to experience kidneyfailure than are people of other races.


• Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go unnoticeduntil it is very advanced.


• The kidneys’ major function is to filter out waste productsand excess fluid from the body.


• Eat healthy and drink water instead of sugary drinks.


• Exercise regularly.


• Ask your doctor about your kidney health.


Learn More


For further information about kidney disease and how to tell whether you’reat risk, call (800) 622-9010 or visit www.kidney.org.

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