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NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning to Host Educational Youth Basketball Clinic in Harlem
Date:6/10/2008

Mourning, Shape Up New York(TM) and the American Association of Kidney Patients Team Up to Shed Light on Chronic Kidney Disease in New York City

NEW YORK, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Alonzo Mourning, center for the Miami HEAT, will host an educational basketball clinic for local youth in Harlem today. During the clinic, Mourning, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 2000, will share his personal story to raise awareness of CKD and two common risk factors, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as highlight the importance of preventing these diseases.

Approximately 20 million Americans suffer from CKD -- including an estimated 650,000 New York City residents -- and another estimated 20 million are at risk. The basketball clinic, hosted by Shape Up New York and sponsored by the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) and Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., aims to increase awareness about these health problems and encourage individuals who may be at risk to speak with their doctors.

The clinic will take place at the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center, located at 85 Bradhurst Avenue & 146th Street in East Harlem, at 6 p.m. EDT.

Nearly 20 percent of the adult population in East Harlem and the South Bronx has diabetes, a risk factor for CKD, according to a report by the City University of New York and the Public Health Association of New York City. The report also noted that African Americans with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop CKD than individuals of other ethnic backgrounds with the disease. In addition, African Americans have a higher incidence of high blood pressure compared to other ethnic groups, which, if left untreated, can also cause CKD.

"Chronic kidney disease can occur at any age, and I want to encourage those who may be at risk to get tested and treated," said Mourning. "It is important for people to understand the risk factors for the disease and to talk to their doctors. Had I been aware of the disease, I might have been diagnosed earlier and prevented my condition from worsening."

The most common risk factors of CKD are diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney disease. In New York City, approximately 800,000 adults have diabetes, while an estimated 2 million adults have high blood pressure.

"The American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Kidney Patients and the National Kidney Foundation all emphasize the importance of screening for CKD in patients with diabetes or high blood pressure," said Simon Prince, MD, FACP, FASN, and a nephrologist in the New York City area. "We encourage children and their parents to attend the clinic together, listen to Alonzo's story and learn more about CKD and its risk factors. Early recognition and intervention are crucial to improving health outcomes."

Mourning was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2000, and had a kidney transplant in 2003. Since then, he has made a triumphant return to the NBA, and has dedicated much of his life to helping others with kidney disease. In addition to Mourning, AAKP President, Roberta Wager, RN, MSN, will be available to discuss some of the resources available to patients who have CKD.

About Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition in which the kidneys are unable to function effectively. Many people, including Mourning before his diagnosis, do not realize that they have CKD, or are at risk for developing it, until they have reached the advanced stages of the condition. The incidence of CKD appears to be correlated to diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD in the U.S.

About Shape Up New York(TM)

Shape Up New York is a FREE family fitness program offered at parks sites, community centers and housing sites around New York City. Fitness classes are open to adults and children. Classes include step aerobics, fitness walking, light weights, stretching and toning exercises. Shape Up New York is designed to encourage the development of healthy lifestyles and help improve participant self-esteem through energizing physical activity in a non-competitive environment. The program is sponsored jointly by the City's Health and Parks Departments.

About the American Association of Kidney Patients

The American Association of Kidney Patients is the voluntary, patient organization, which for more than 35 years, has been dedicated to improving the lives of fellow kidney patients and their families by helping them deal with the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease. The programs offered by AAKP inform and inspire patients and their families to better understand their condition, adjust more readily to their circumstances, and assume more normal, productive lives in their communities.

About Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.

Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. is a leading biopharmaceutical company devoted to helping improve the lives of patients with cancer and with anemia due to multiple causes, including chronic kidney disease. Since it was founded in 1990, Ortho Biotech and its worldwide affiliates have earned a global reputation for researching, manufacturing and marketing innovative products that enhance patients' health. Located in Bridgewater, N.J., Ortho Biotech is an established market leader in Epoetin alfa therapy for anemia management. The company also markets treatments for recurrent ovarian cancer, rejection of transplanted organs and other serious illnesses. For more information, visit http://www.orthobiotech.com.


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SOURCE Shape Up New York
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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