Photo: SSM Health

MT. VERNON – The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is teaming up with SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital to provide a free kidney and health screening on Friday, March 24 for all community members aged 18 and up.

Good Samaritan Hospital will also be hosting a wellness fair in conjunction with the NKFI health screening event which will be open to all ages. Both events will be held at Veterans Memorial Park – Rolland W. Lewis Community Building on South 27th Street in Mt. Vernon.

Anyone interested in getting screened for kidney disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes is encouraged to attend from noon to 4 p.m. There is no cost to be screened; appointments are strongly recommended at but are not required. The SSM Health Wellness Fair will also start at noon but will extend until 6 p.m.

The kidney and health screening will be offered by the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ KidneyMobile®, the nation’s only custom mobile unit that travels across the state screening individuals for kidney disease and its two main causes: diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition to a free screening, attendees will also be able to talk privately with a physician regarding their results.

The SSM Health Wellness Fair will have informational tables for various service lines including primary care, behavioral health, nutrition, weight management, diabetes education, sleep, cancer care, surgical services, therapy, wound care, and many more. The SSM Health Medical Group will be selling discounted lab vouchers for $45. Lab vouchers include CBC, CMP, TSH, and lipid panel. Hemoglobin A1c and prostate-specific antigen can be added for an extra cost. There will also be surprise visits by two pet therapy dogs throughout the event. Several community partners will be present. A variety of attendance prizes will be raffled off during the event.

In bringing these two events to Mt. Vernon, SSM Health is grateful for the partnership with the KidneyMobile® and local organizations.

Each year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer, but while the majority of Americans can recite the common tests for breast and prostate cancer, many do not know the risk factors and tests that could keep them off dialysis and the transplant waiting list. Because kidney disease often develops slowly with few symptoms, it can frequently go undetected until it is very advanced. Simple steps such as controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, keeping weight down, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and avoiding excessive use of pain medicine, can help reduce risk.

“One in three American adults is at risk for kidney disease, while one in seven already has the disease,” said Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop, Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. “That means hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois are affected. Our goal is to educate the community about the risks for kidney disease and detect it early so that they can manage the disease and slow its progression.”