On Sunday, June 24, approximately 2,000 people participated in the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois' (NKFI) 13th annual Gift of Life Walk, Run and Roll presented by Baxter International Inc. The event, held at Soldier Field Great Lawn, is the NKFI's largest attended fundraiser, and this was no exception with a record breaking attendance. In total, the event raised more than $140,000 to support programs that benefit kidney patients throughout the state of Illinois.
Most participants walked as teams in honor of a loved one affected by kidney disease. The event drew teams of all sizes; Baxter's team had more than 700 participants while other teams ranged from hundreds to as close knit as a few. Participants included people with kidney disease and on dialysis, transplant recipients and donors, caregivers, healthcare professionals and those who support the fight against kidney disease.
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Award-winning journalist, author and blogger Jim McFarlin inspired the crowd with his personal story about receiving a kidney transplant in November 2011. Jim was on home dialysis for two years before finally receiving confirmation that a kidney was available for transplant. Today he uses his background as a one-time standup comedian to raise awareness for kidney disease and inspire patients through his lighthearted blog, "JK- Just Kidneying."
"It's so important that we are here today," said Jim to the crowd of walkers and runners before the start. "Just by your presence, you are giving hope, and you are giving support."
All funds raised at the Gift of Life Walk, Run and Roll will support the NKFI, a major voluntary health organization that seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.
For more information about the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, contact Jessica MacLean at (312) 321-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.