The Kidney TRUST
kidneytrust.org/new/enews/2011-01/illinois-mom-awareness/

Illinois Mom is on a Mission to Get Healthy and Raise Awareness About Kidney Disease

After visiting the doctor last June for what she thought were minor health issues, Jenny McFadden was shocked to learn that she had developed Chronic Kidney Disease (“CKD”), a condition that affects over 31 million Americans.

Jenny McFadden and sons Devin and Damon.

Jenny, who lives in Capron, Illinois, wasn’t the type of person to worry about her health, although she was a smoker and 60 pounds overweight.  She’d been happily married for 15 years with two sons (Devin and Damon, ages 11 and 13) and although she’d had some kidney issues as a child, she thought any problems in that regard were behind her.  As it turned out, the damage done to her kidneys earlier in life made her more vulnerable to CKD as an adult.

Her CKD diagnosis was a real wake-up call.  “I was frightened that I might be a risk for kidney failure and after talking to my doctor and learning what I could, I spent hours on the Internet to find out more,” said Jenny.  “The good news is that I learned that there were things I could do to stop the progression of CKD and live a healthy and normal life.”

Jenny took immediate steps to improve her health, bringing her family along for the ride.  She stopped smoking.  She went on a kidney-friendly diet and has lost 40 pounds since August 1.  The entire family joined a local gym and she and her husband Harold, who has lost 20 pounds himself, started power-walking on a daily basis.

“We’re healthier now than we ever were before,” said Jenny.  “And it feels good to know we are making healthy decisions not just for us, but for our children.  I hope that I’ll never need even one day of dialysis, and I’m doing everything that I can to avoid it.”

Jenny McFadden and her husband Harold.

Jenny didn’t stop there, however, deciding that getting the word out to others about CKD was the most important thing that she could be doing with her time.  She organized a CKD support group and appeared on a local TV station to talk about it.  She wrote an article about how to prevent or control CKD, and even organized a CKD screening day that was held at her gym in December, so people could find out if they were at risk for CKD.

“There’s not much awareness in our community about kidney disease, so I thought it was  important to really get out there with the message that this disease is hidden and deadly, but that it can be controlled if you take some simple steps to head it off,” said Jenny.  “I’ve made it my personal mission to spread the word.”