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Philadelphia Holds Its First Annual ‘Kidney Action Day’ To Fight Deadly Diseases

(The first annual Kidney Action Day, on the plaza near Broad and JFK Blvd.  Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(The first annual Kidney Action Day, on the plaza near Broad and JFK Blvd. Credit: Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Department of Health  teamed up with the American Kidney Fund today to host the first annual Kidney Action Day.

Bright sunshine and a chance to get a free checkup brought big crowds to the plaza outside the Muncipal Services Building, on JFK Boulevard across from City Hall.

One man man who decided to get a kidney screening because he’s been wrestling with high blood pressure said he was seeking “just some knowledge, peace of mind — make sure nothings wrong.”

A number of people said they felt fine, but when their screenings revealed dangerous results they were sent to another tent to have blood drawn.

(A technician draws blood from a man at Philadelphia's first annual Kidney Action Day.  Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(A technician draws blood from a man at Philadelphia’s first annual Kidney Action Day. Credit: Paul Kurtz)

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And that’s the whole point of this excercise, says LaVarne Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund.

(LaVarne Burton.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(LaVarne Burton. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

“You don’t have symptoms about kidney disease, unfortunately, until you are in the latter stages,” Burton (right) warned.  “It’s a silent disease.  So the reason we created Kidney Action Day is to challenge people to begin to take action early on, to learn about the status of their kidney health, and then to do something about that.”

Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the US, affecting up to 31 million people.