Stories

Poarch Band of Creek Indians Helps Spread Awareness About Kidney Health

March marked the Alabama Kidney Foundation’s (AKF) annual observance of National Kidney Month. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians partners with the AKF donating $25,000 annually toward this crucial cause dedicated to raising awareness about kidney health and chronic kidney disease.

The mission of the AKF is to serve the kidney patients of Alabama through financial assistance, education, and support services. The Foundation also provides statewide education to promote organ donation awareness and prevention of kidney disease. According to the AKF, health disparities continue to plague underserved populations and impact the kidney patient’s journey. The organization provides nearly $1 million in direct assistance to low-income dialysis patients and their families.

“The support of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians helps thousands of dialysis patients in need by providing lifesaving assistance and kidney education” said David Reeves Executive Director for the AKF. “We are so appreciative for their continued support to both AKF and surrounding communities,” he added. “They truly help give hope to so many that often feel hopeless.”

Because Native Americans are more likely to develop diabetes, they are also more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of renal disease in patients. The rate of end stage renal disease among Native Americans with diabetes is much higher than among non-Native Americans. Taking this significant community impact into account, Robbie McGhee, Poarch Band of Creek Indians Vice Chair and Chief Governmental Affairs Officer, serves as a Legacy Advisor for the Alabama Kidney Foundation.

“We are committed to working with the Alabama Kidney Foundation and helping spread awareness of the organization’s work and vital resources they provide across Alabama,” said McGhee.

The AKF is one of the few non-profits in the state that provides education and support services for kidney disease patients. The Foundation helps patients adjust their lifestyles while also providing services like assisting with the cost of transportation to get to and from treatment. The Annual Kidney Walk & Celebration events across the state is just one example of the ways the Foundation raises money to cover transportation and medical costs for families.

Preventing kidney disease involves a combination of lifestyle changes and regular health check-ups. The AKF recommends the following key preventive measures including:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet low in sodium and processed foods
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Controlling blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Staying hydrated
  • Managing stress
  • Getting adequate high-quality sleep
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and taking safe, effective weight loss measures if you are overweight
  • Seeing your healthcare providers regularly

Getting regular kidney function screenings, especially for those at higher risk, is also essential. Early detection and management can slow or halt the progression of the disease, highlighting the importance of regular health screenings.

For more information about the Alabama Kidney Foundation’s programs and services, visit alkidney.org; and to learn more about the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, visit poarchcreekindians.org.

World Kidney Day, March 14, was a special day filled with smiles and a fun way to spread kidney disease education and prevention with the AKF Katie Gets a Kidney coloring book. Becki Connally, AKF Director of Corporate & Community Partnerships and Shannon Morrell, Middle Alabama Regional Director, had the opportunity to visit the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Fred L. McGhee’s Early Learning Center and passed out close to 100 AKF Katie Gets a Kidney Coloring Books and crayons to the Pre-K 2 and Pre-K 4 classrooms. They also presented the center’s directors with more than 250 books & crayons to distribute to their Boys & Girls Club.