MIAMI, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- To recognize his extraordinary commitment to raising awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD), the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) today announced that Alonzo Mourning, seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star and center for the Miami HEAT, is the 2008 recipient of AAKP''s Life Membership Award. AAKP will honor Mourning at tonight''s Miami HEAT game vs. the Toronto Raptors during the half-time show.
Mourning was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2000, and had a kidney transplant in 2003. Since then, Mourning has made a triumphant return to the NBA, and has dedicated much of his life to helping others with kidney disease.
"It is a great honor to receive this award from AAKP, an organization that does important work for people living with CKD," said Mourning. "My biggest win is that I am healthy and, with groups like AAKP, I am able to help fight CKD by encouraging people who are at risk to talk to their doctors and get tested and treated as early as possible."
Earlier today, a kick-off breakfast was held at the AmericanAirlines Arena for National Kidney Month and to recognize Mourning for his dedication to raising awareness of CKD. The breakfast was sponsored by Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.
"Since his diagnosis, Mourning has been motivating physicians and the public to take action -- encouraging those who are at risk for chronic kidney disease to get tested and treated," said AAKP President Roberta Wager, RN, MSN. "Because of his tireless commitment and drive to raise public awareness and money for research -- and his ability to share his personal experience living with this disease -- Mourning has touched countless lives with his important message."
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 chronic kidney disease, or are at risk for developing it, until they have reached the advanced stages of the condition. This is significant, because roughly 20 million Americans are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, and another 20 million are at increased risk. 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 the AAKP and the AAKP Life Membership Award
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) 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.
The AAKP Honorary Life Membership Award is given to an individual as an expression of long-term dedication to helping kidney patients achieve a better quality of health and life. These contributions, whether they have been in research, leadership or mentorship, have a lasting impact on the kidney community and demonstrate a lifetime commitment to the progress against kidney disease. Past winners include celebrity chef Katie Lee Joel and musician Isaac Hayes. These individuals have used their celebrity status to advance AAKP''s mission and have generously donated their time to educate kidney patients, friends of the kidney community and the general public about renal disease. For more information, visit the AAKP Web site,
About Ortho Biotech
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
Source: American Association of Kidney Patients