“It’s time to sound the alarms … and aim to help more people [living with APOL1-mediated kidney disease].” – Alonzo Mourning, Basketball Hall-of-Famer living with AMKD

In 2010, scientists discovered a link between rapidly progressive kidney disease and specific variants in a gene called APOL1. Today, our scientists are using those insights to bring forward an investigational treatment for APOL1-mediated kidney disease (AMKD).  

One particular challenge of AMKD is that most people living with this disease don’t even know they have it until it’s significantly advanced. To expand awareness of AMKD and provide resources to those who may have this disease, we are teaming up with basketball Hall-of-Famer Alonzo Mourning to launch “Power Forward” (www.PowerForwardTogether.com), an educational initiative to raise awareness of AMKD and highlight the importance of genetic testing and early diagnosis.  

Since the start of his legendary basketball career, Alonzo “Zo” Mourning has been known for his tenacity and never-give-up attitude. Among his many achievements are setting NCAA records at Georgetown, being a seven-time NBA all-star, winning an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal, and being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  

Alonzo was at the peak of his basketball career — he had just won gold with Team USA in the 2000 Summer Olympics — when he noticed a sudden lack of energy along with extreme swelling throughout his body. His physicians noticed signs of kidney disease during a routine physical and conducted follow-up tests. His diagnosis? A rare kidney condition now known as AMKD. In 2003, he received a kidney transplant and, with significant hard work and commitment, he achieved his goal of getting back on the court. In fact, he led the Miami Heat to an NBA championship in 2006 before eventually retiring in 2008 — with a career that spanned a total of 15 NBA seasons.  

Alonzo is now an active and outspoken advocate for kidney health and encourages others to be proactive as well. 

Check out this short video for a preview of Alonzo’s story and our Power Forward campaign: 
 


 

Power Forward includes a toolkit of educational and actionable content for people who may be at risk for AMKD. This includes a discussion guide that can be used at doctors’ appointments, information on how to get tested if you are at risk for AMKD, and other educational resources from patient advocacy organizations such as the American Kidney Fund, NephCure and the National Kidney Foundation. In addition to the Power Forward website, the campaign can be found on social media across Facebook (@PowerForwardTogether), Instagram (@PowerForwardTogether), and Twitter (@Power___Forward).  

Visit PowerForwardTogether.com to learn more.