Monday, August 24, 2015

Looking for Some (Kidney) Action in Chicago? Hit The Loop This Week

Blowing Hot Air in the Windy City: At Kidney Action Day 2014.
Last summer, I was invited to be one of the guest speakers at the Kidney Action Day in the Chicago Loop, an event that returns this Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

I do a lot of public speaking these days, but that was a particularly memorable experience. Driving into (and trying to park in) the heart of Chicago, squeezing into one of the lime-green event T-shirts (what, you don't have size XX-Jumbo?) and competing with the noise and hubbub of Richard J. Daley Center Plaza to shout out my personal story and stress healthy, kidney-friendly lifestyle choices, I was in a blur of activity. I found myself scanning the crowd searching for anyone who appeared to be listening, but just the thought that I might be reaching one person with my journey was exhilarating.

What I remember most, though, was being slotted between a booming, Chaka Khan-style R&B songstress and a young semi-professional acrobatic team. I felt like the standup comic on the old Ed Sullivan Show! All I needed was a set of plates to spin on sticks and I would have fit right in!

Which I guess is one way of saying there is a lot to see and do during Kidney Action Day, sponsored by the American Kidney Fund (AKF). I even struck up a (one-sided) conversation with Southpaw, the mascot of the Chicago White Sox, which as a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan I found more than a little eerie. ("If I did kidnap him, how could I fit that big head in my trunk? Hmmm...") The action and entertainment draws in the Loop lunchtimers, visitors and passersby, but the health benefits are what makes this special day an afternoon delight.
Meeting the White Sox mascot? I wasn't green with envy, but...
There are free health screenings for kidney ailments and other possible diseases, healthy cooking demonstrations – and samples – by Jewel-Osco and Hyatt, and interactive fitness displays from the David Barton Gym, Chicago Latin Fitness and Zumba With Adelle. And oh, yes, Southpaw will make a return appearance, between 12:30-1:30 p.m.

It's all free (one of my very favorite words) and open to the public. Bring your friends and family if you can. Richard J. Daley Center Plaza is located at 50 West Washington Street in Chicago. For more information, visit the American Kidney Fund website or get in touch with Janis Contreras at or (301) 984-5053.

While you're there, look for me. I'll be the one carrying around the stack of plates with sticks to match.