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United Athletes Foundation Joins Ireland in the Fight Against Kidney Disease with a Coalition of Over 90 Professional Athletes

Posted By Donovan Wilson On Jan 30 2011 @ 6:11 am In New York | No Comments

New York, NY – Shad Ireland, dialysis patient, Ironman triathlete and passionate advocate for the prevention of kidney disease through exercise and healthy living, will “Take on the Tour” in 2011, launching a 24-month athletic endeavor to conquer the sport of cycling.  Starting this year with the Amgen Tour of California, Shad will ride multiple stages in some of the world’s toughest cycling races to raise awareness of the over 27 million Americans suffering from kidney disease.

In an effort to reach as many individuals as possible, Ireland has teamed up with the United Athletes Foundation (UAF), a non-profit organization focused on collaboration between professional athletes to maximize philanthropic impact. With a coalition of over 90 top athletes spanning the NFL, NBA, MLB, WNBA and more, this is a first of its kind effort on behalf of kidney disease prevention.

“The United Athletes Foundation provides the resources and the fundamentals to create ambassadors for philanthropic success,” says former Carolina Panther Reggie Howard, UAF President.   “There is power in numbers. We are over 90 strong in our support for Shad and together we can make a significant impact on the prevention of kidney disease.”

On the heels of an epic 4,000 mile ride across the U.S to bring attention to those with kidney failure, the unstoppable Ireland is currently training for the grueling multi-stage cycling races as well as the Lanai Hawaii Triathlon, the Orange County Triathlon and the New York City Marathon, in an effort to spread the message of healthcare and prevention.

A dialysis patient since the age of 10 and living without any kidneys, Ireland is the first and only kidney dialysis patient in the world to successfully complete multiple Ironman triathlons, His mission is to educate and inspire others to exercise as a way to prevent kidney disease as well as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are the leading causes of the disease.

As part of the initiative, professional athletes and their foundations will focus on preventive awareness and will target underserved communities across the United States.    Together, they hope to inspire and engage Americans to exercise and provide tools to help people stay healthy.

Through “Take on the Tour”, UAF and Shad Ireland will place a special focus on underserved communities and communities of color, specifically African Americans and Latinos, who are four times more likely to develop a renal diagnosis and nine times less likely to catch the disease at an early enough point where intervention would have an impact.   Awareness of Chronic Kidney Disease and prevention is especially important as approximately 75 percent of all health care costs in America are directly attributed to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of the disease.  Statistics regarding causes of the disease are daunting:

In the U.S. over 133 million Americans are considered obese or overweight… and 54 million are predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes. Overall, 27 million Americans have CKD (chronic kidney disease). Outside of that, an additional 21 million are unaware that they have this disease.

To increase awareness and prevention efforts, the Shad Ireland Foundation and UAF have also partnered with One Economy, a non-profit organization created to expand access to technology and information across the globe.  This unique partnership will afford the public unprecedented digital access to athletes and their philanthropic efforts and provide them with proven technologies, tools and resources for improving their lives and communities.   The marriage of inspiration and tools for action will be available at the newly created UAF Channel on Pic.TV – the Public Internet Channel at www.pic.tv/uaf [1].

“With a purposeful use of technology we can bring people together to make a difference. In this case the interests of athletes, communities, and organizations converge in new results driven ways,” said Rey Ramsey, Chairman, One Economy Corporation.

Through Pic.TV, Ireland will document his experiences, challenges and victories. There, fans can watch as he battles the California terrain during the Amgen Tour of California, which takes place May 15-22, 2011. Later this year from August 22-28, Ireland will also participate in the first-ever Tour of Colorado, which will take him through intensely rugged and mountainous terrain.   For more information about “Take On the Tour”, or to donate to the Shad Ireland Foundation please visit www.takeonthetour.com [2].  Proceeds raised by the “Take on The Tour” initiative will go directly to support kidney disease screenings in underserved communities and to provide care for those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease.

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[1] www.pic.tv/uaf: http://www.pic.tv/uaf

[2] www.takeonthetour.com: http://www.takeonthetour.com/

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