Walking this weekend to raise awareness for kidney disease

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Thirty-seven million Americans are currently living with kidney disease.

Photo from a previous year's Kidney Walk in Colorado Springs.

11 News viewers probably know that our longtime reporter Dustin Cuzick lost his battle with the disease over the summer.

Cuzick was a passionate advocate for organ donation. This weekend, many of his friends and family are walking in his honor, and in honor of those millions of Americans still fighting.

The 2019 Southern Colorado Kidney Walk kicks off Sunday at Memorial Park, located at 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue. For those not from Colorado Springs, the park is just east of downtown.

Registration is free, but participants are encouraged to fundraise. Eighty cents of every dollar goes towards research, public education, improving the quality of life for patients, reducing organ transplant waiting times, and more. Further information on what fundraising dollars go to can be found here.

The walk is one of the biggest fundraisers for the National Kidney Foundation, and the proceeds raised for Sunday's event will stay in southern Colorado, said Gordon Heuser, chair for the 2019 walk.

"It helps people who have kidney disease or are on dialysis and looking for a transplant," he told 11 News anchor Katie Pelton.

The event also aims to raise awareness of kidney disease. One in 3 people are at risk of the disease and may not even know it, said Kendra Burrell, the executive director with the National Kidney Foundation serving Colorado. And many more likely know someone who is or was affected.

"That's one of the key things ... the Kidney Walk is a large awareness event for kidney health, so we want people to come out and support those who maybe are personally affected, but also learn about the risk factors and take away the education they may need," Burrell said.

If you wish to take part, you can register by clicking here. If you're still deciding over the weekend, you can register the day of the walk starting at 8:30 a.m. at the park -- come early to avoid a line!

The walk begins at 10 a.m. Along with the walk around picturesque Memorial Park, there's a kids zone, a dogs zone, dog costume contest, food, and more. So if walking isn't your thing, you can still head out to the park Sunday and join in the fun! Highs Sunday are expected to be perfect: mid-70s!

Can't attend, but wish to donate? Click here.