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photoNephCure Launches “Sign on for Dawn”

NephCure has launched “Sign on for Dawn,” an online fundraising and awareness campaign honoring the accomplishments of James Madison University All-American point guard Dawn Evans, who suffers from the incurable kidney disease FSGS.

Evans joined The NephCure Foundation as an Ambassador in April, 2010, after being diagnosed with FSGS in December, 2009. Despite a kidney function that was hovering around 20 percent, Evans excelled on the basketball court. She ended the 2009-10 campaign as the nation’s fifth-leading scorer in women’s Division I basketball, led her team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and garnered All-American recognition.

“It is an honor that NephCure has launched this campaign,” said Evans, who is preparing for her senior season at JMU. “FSGS is a disease that very little is known about. I’ve experienced firsthand how it affects the patients and their families. I am just doing what I can to help bring awareness and, hopefully, money to the research projects NephCure funds.”

After becoming an Ambassador, Evans assisted NephCure in a number of social media campaigns, including the Pepsi Refresh Project, Chase Community Giving and a NephCure-initiated awareness campaign on Facebook, where the popular collegian hits nearly 5,000 friends.

As part of the “Sign on for Dawn” campaign, donors can show their support for Evans by making a donation on the website www.signonfordawn.org. Depending on the donor’s giving level, his or her name will appear on the site’s “virtual basketball” and on a large-scale, printed basketball that will be presented to Evans during a ceremony at a James Madison University this season (date to be determined).

“Sign on for Dawn” will be promoted primarily through social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, and through www.nephcure.org. Supporters are encouraged to spread the word through their own social media platforms and networks.

 “I had the privilege to meet Dawn and she is a special person,” said NephCure board member Michael Levine, whose 8-year-old son, Matthew, also suffers from FSGS.  “It was inspiring to spend the day with her and the James Madison University community. ‘Sign on for Dawn’ is a great way for everyone to show their support and get involved, because the only way to find a cure is to continue to fund research.”

FSGS, which is the same kidney disease that forced future NBA Hall-of-Famer Alonzo Mourning to require a transplant, is the second-leading cause of kidney failure in children and is five-times more prevalent in the African-American community.

“What excites me about what Dawn has done is that she is not sitting idly by and letting this disease control her life,” said Mourning. “She is standing up to adversity as part of NephCure and performing in front of thousands on a regular basis on the basketball court. Knowing what FSGS did to me, I am inspired by the passion and power which Dawn demonstrates.”

Mourning, like Evans, is a NephCure Ambassador. Other Ambassadors include former Major League Baseball player Ed Hearn (three transplants and continues to suffer from FSGS), Congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL) and Jim Gerlach (PA),  former NFL stars Gaylon Hyder (FSGS patient) and Herschel Walker, NASCAR driver David Ragan and actress Rebecca Budig.


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