NBA Hall-of-Famer Alonzo Mourning Shares Personal Story to Raise Kidney Disease Awareness

KING OF PRUSSIA (Nov. 18, 2021) – NBA hall-of-famer Alonzo Mourning was at the height of his basketball career—he had just won gold in the 2000 Summer Olympics when he noticed extreme swelling throughout his body and a lack of energy. A routine physical exam showed abnormalities, and eventually, Mourning received a diagnosis of a rare, protein-spilling kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).

“I said ‘Doc, am I going to die?’ He paused; he took too long to answer me. And he said, ‘We have no known cure’… ultimately, he said, ‘In about 10-12 months you’ll probably be on dialysis,’” Mourning said as he recalled the jarring day.

Mourning, who missed the entire 2002-2003 season due to kidney disease and later went on to win the World Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006, publicly recounted his personal journey with FSGS in a video for NephCure Kidney International’s kidney disease awareness campaign, debuting Nov. 18.

In highlighting Mourning’s story, NephCure aims to reach those who are at risk for kidney disease and to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of these conditions. Black Americans are 4-5 times more likely to develop kidney failure than white Americans, and 1 in 8 are at risk for a genetic form of kidney disease. A variation on the APOL1 gene contributes to this disparity.

“We are proud to work with Alonzo Mourning in sharing such an important message that will inspire and inform others who fall within this at-risk population. Our goal is to find a cure for this debilitating kidney disease, as well as educate and support those who are affected by it,” said Michael Levine, NephCure Board President and kidney disease patient parent.

This awareness campaign comes just months after NephCure launched its Health Equity Initiative, with the goal of ensuring equitable access to advancements in research, treatments, and care, and to reach individuals from communities of color earlier in their disease progression, preventing or delaying their need for dialysis and transplantation.

Support for this video and the awareness campaign was provided by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Travere Therapeutics, and other funders of the Health Equity Initiative. To watch the entire video with Alonzo Mourning, click here.


About NephCure Kidney International

NephCure Kidney International’s mission is to accelerate research for effective treatments for rare forms of Nephrotic Syndrome, and to provide education and support that will improve the lives of those affected by these protein-spilling kidney diseases. Founded in 2000 by a group of committed patient parents, NephCure has invested more than $40 million in kidney disease research and helped create a landscape where there are now more than 30 interventional drug trials for primary glomerular kidney diseases. NephCure is a U.S. tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. Learn more at





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