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Simmses, Craig to walk to give the ‘Gift of Life’

Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 4:59 a.m. CST

CHICAGO — The Simms family and Megan Craig will join about 2,000 other people at the annual Gift of Life Walk at Soldier Field Sunday, June 30, to raise awareness of kidney disease and money to help fight it.

This will be Craig’s second year participating, and the third year for the Simms family, who live in South Wilmington.

“It’s really inspiring to see so many people out supporting the cause,” said Craig, who lives in Chicago. “There’s so many success stories, but it’s also a good reminder of all the people that still need help.”

The event includes a 3.1-mile walk on Chicago’s lakefront and includes live entertainment, kids’ activities, and healthy living tips, according to the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, which puts on the event.

Shad Ireland, who has battled kidney disease since age 11, but has since gone on to complete an Ironman Triathlon, will be a guest speaker at the event.

The Gift of Life Walk is presented by Baxter International Inc., a healthcare company.

It is a free event, but participants who raise $75 or more receive a T-shirt.

Donations to Anne Simms, whose son, Evan, was born with multicystic kidneys, and Megan Craig, who anonymously donated a kidney to the 3-year-old, can be made to their team — Evan’s Angels — at FirstGiving.com.

Donations benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, which works to prevent the disease and helps educate those affected by it.

“It’s a very emotional experience for us,” Anne said. “It’s a great way to raise awareness, but it’s also a great way to honor Megan and Mary (Anne’s sister, who also donated a kidney).”

“It’s a great way to draw in support,” she added.

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