Becky Minger, 23, of Sylvania, who is Miss Ohio 2010, has her blood pressure checked by Kidney Foundation volunteer Debbie Mills.
Ava Grose, 4, of Marblehead, Ohio, bumps fists with Muddy the Mud Hen at the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio's free health screenings at Westfield Franklin Park mall's food court. The event from 1 to 3 p.m. yesterday was made possible by volunteers from Leadership Toledo.
Mike Bell, mayor of Toledo and former fire chief, has his blood pressure checked at Franklin Park by Todd Arndt, a former firefighter.
About 4,000 people are on dialysis in the region, according to Kristie Martin, a spokesman for the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio, a nonprofit organization sponsoring of the event.
"I just got my blood pressure checked and I am healthy," said Becky Minger, a Sylvania resident who is Miss Ohio 2010. She majored in interpersonal communications at Bowling Green State University and hopes to attend law school.
"It is important for everybody to come here and have their blood pressure and blood sugar checked."
Shortly after Ms. Minger stepped away from the Mercy nurses for a photo opportunity with Muddy the Mud Hen, her place at the blood pressure screening table was taken by Gloria Grill, a retired technician messenger at the former Mercy Hospital downtown.
"I work out at the gym every day," Ms. Grill, 65, said.
"But when I heard on TV that they are giving these screenings, I thought I'd just stop by and check it out, because I am interested in staying healthy."
There is an alarming trend of increases in Type II diabetes, hypertension, and obesity -- the leading causes of chronic kidney disease, both locally and nationally, according to Ms. Martin.
Unknown to many of those afflicted in the early stages, these diseases are often referred to as silent, she said.
Nationally, 26 million adults have chronic kidney disease, more than 367,000 people rely on dialysis for survival, 87,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, and 75 percent of adults on dialysis cannot attend work or school, the spokesman said.
Holly Hoagland-Fojtik, the foundation's executive director, said the event was made possible by Leadership Toledo, whose volunteers had been working on it since December.
Kerrigan Quicker, 40, a Fifth Third Bank vice president for business banking in the Toledo area, took his wife, Melanie, and daughters, Kylee, 5, and Anna, 4, to the event.
"The Kidney Foundation is doing a really important job helping people find out more about their personal health," Mr. Quicker, one of about 40 volunteers at the event, said.
Also available for event participants were registration and pledge forms for the ninth annual Kilometers for Kidneys Walk.
The 5-kilometer walk is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. April 3 at Huntington Center.
Registration is free and available online at kfnwo.org.
Call Mike Sigov at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6089.