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Grizz Chapman of "30 Rock" to Appear at Georgetown Kidney Walk

WI Staff | 6/1/2011, 4:50 p.m.

Grizz Chapman, a cast member on NBC's hit show "30 Rock," is on a crusade to raise awareness about kidney disease and the effects it has on overall health. At seven foot tall, Chapman is used to drawing attention. Now he is using his talents to further the cause of the National Kidney Foundation by serving as an advocate, spokesperson and the 2011 National Kidney Walk Chairman.

Chapman and his team of walkers called "Team Grizz" will be participating in the 10th Annual Ronald D. Paul Companies Georgetown Kidney Walk at the Georgetown Waterfront on October 15, 2011. The Kidney Walk is a fun, inspiring community fundraiser that calls attention to the prevention of kidney disease and the need for organ donation.

More than 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and millions more are at risk and don't know it. For Chapman, kidney disease was not something he'd ever contemplated. Due to uncontrolled high blood pressure, his kidneys became damaged, eventually leading to kidney failure. Each year, more than 87,000 Americans die from causes related to kidney failure.

The disquieting news for Chapman came after doctors found a high level of protein in his urine through a test done over two years ago. At an alarming pace, his condition evolved from high blood pressure into congestive heart failure and kidney failure. The incidence of end-stage renal disease or kidney failure is rising fast, with more than 547,000 Americans currently receiving treatment. This includes more than 382,000 dialysis patients and over 165,000 people with functioning kidney transplants.

Chapman received a kidney transplant in August 2010 and has since used his experience to help spread the word about the need for early detection of kidney disease. "This experience has taught me the importance of early detection and of knowing the link between high blood pressure and kidney disease and also of getting your kidneys screened if you're at risk. I've learned a lot about the life-saving power of organ and tissue donation and how we need to celebrate the heroism of donors and the positive impact they make on the lives of recipients."

The Washington DC area has the highest prevalence of kidney disease in the nation with more than 700,000 people affected, nearly 6,000 on dialysis and more than 1,500 people waiting for a kidney transplant. Kidney disease hits minorities disproportionately, with African Americans affected at three times the rate of Caucasians. Chapman urges everyone to take care of their health, "even when you feel good," he says. Chapman feels blessed to have undergone a successful transplant and is eager to now spread the word.

The 10th Annual Ronald D. Paul Companies Georgetown Kidney Walk on Saturday, October 15, 2011 is an opportunity for patients, transplant recipients, organ donors, family, friends, groups and businesses to come together to support the millions of people with chronic kidney disease. To sign up as a walker, form a team, or join "Team Grizz," go to www.kidneywalk.org or call 202-244-7900.