CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Last week, we brought you an interview on the Morning Show to encourage healthier habits in our communities, in particular getting screened for kidney disease and diabetes. Today, we discussed the Black K.A.R.E program, a health initiative launched by the Central Illinois Chapter of the Links, Inc.

The mission of the Links is to enrich, ensure, sustain and educate the African-American communities throughout the world. During today’s interview, we hosted the Chair of Black K.A.R.E, Rhonda Smith. Smith, a member of the Links, is a proud advocate of tackling your kidney and diabetes health head-on.

She also has a personal connection with CKD, or chronic kidney disease. Some of her family members have endured the challenges those health concerns can bring, so she wanted to encourage our African-American communities to get screened and not be afraid of the results.

That’s why on March 31st of this year, the Central Illinois Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the Black K.A.R.E (Kidney Awareness Resources and Education) program are teaming up to offer a free screening for kidney disease and diabetes. It will occur from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club.

“Nine out of 10 people broadly across the U.S. are walking around with CKD that’s undiagnosed. Not just black people, that’s anybody because CKD does not discriminate. So by putting this awareness out there to everyone, even though we say Black K.A.R.E, everyone has access to this information,” says Smith.

African-Americans account for 35% of kidney disease in the U.S. and diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure in their communities.

That’s why Denise Poindexter and Dr. Danita Brown-Young, members of the Links themselves, told me last week they have a goal of getting at least 100 people screened at their event on March 31st.

Again, the event is free and is designed for adults to take charge of their health and take advantage of a screening that can potentially save their lives. It’s open to everyone, but primarily African-American individuals who experience kidney disease or diabetes.

To pre-register for the March 31st screening, you can call 312-321-1500 or click here.