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posted: 7/27/2015 6:00 AM

Walk for PKD fights genetic kidney disease

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Daily Herald report

The PKD Foundation represents hope for those affected by polycystic kidney disease (PKD), one of the most common, life-threatening genetic diseases.

The annual Walk for PKD is the signature fundraising and public awareness event for the PKD Foundation. With more than 11,000 walkers nationwide, it is the largest gathering of PKD patients, family, friends and members of the PKD medical community. The Walk for PKD has raised nearly $24 million since 2000.

The coordinators for the local walk are Theresa Raguso of Elmhurst and Pam Foster of Vernon Hills. It is at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, in Busse Woods Forest Preserve, Grove 6, at Higgins and Arlington Heights roads.

The foundation is dedicated to finding treatments and a cure for PKD to improve the lives of those it affects.

"One of the hardest aspects is knowing no cure exists for the people you love," Foster said. "The PKD Foundation provides a way to combat that sense of helplessness. It offers opportunities to feel like we are doing something to help find a solution. Medical research is the key, and the foundation gives us a way to participate in the fundraising necessary for that research to happen. It gives us hope that a cure will be found."

Raguso said the biggest challenge is spreading the word to those outside the PKD community. The foundation's administration is small compared to others and relies heavily on volunteers. About 500,000 people in the United States have the disease.

"I believe that most people would be surprised to learn that PKD is the most commonly inherited genetic disease," Raguso said. "The more we go out and host events or talk about the disease, the more people we meet who have PKD and never talk about it."

To get involved, go to www.pkdcure.org. Also, almost every chapter has a Facebook and/or Twitter page.

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