"30 Rock" star Grizz Chapman is a spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation, and the chairman for the Foundation's 2011 Kidney Walk series. Here, he tells NBC New York the importance of getting checked for the "silent disease" and physical activity.
A little over two years ago, "30 Rock" star Grizz Chapman was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Before that diagnosis, he already suffered from high blood pressure, which damaged his kidneys and ultimately led to kidney failure.
Called the "silent killer" because its symptoms go undetected for so long, kidney disease hit Chapman hard -- he had to undergo dialysis treatment three times a week while he shot "30 Rock," and had to wait for a kidney donor, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Now, after shedding over 160 pounds and undergoing a successful kidney transplant last summer, Chapman's spreading the word about the need for early detection for kidney disease and the critical national shortage of donor organs.
In his new role as spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation, Chapman's urging Americans to "take care of your health even when you feel good.
"Keep your blood pressure under control and pay attention to your urine," he says. "If it's foamy, that's not a good sign and you need to check out your kidneys."
Chapman also told NBC New York that working out is key to staying healthy and reducing the risk of having kidney disease.
"My best health advice is, number one, go get yourself checked out," he says. "Just because you feel good, that doesn't mean anything. Go get your kidneys checked out."
"Secondly, work out," he continues. "Hit the gym... Working out is the key to your life. All you need is a half an hour on the treadmill."
Chapman is also serving as chairman for the National Kidney Foundation's 2011 Kidney Walk series, and will be teaming up with his donor, 19-year-old Ryan Perkins of Phoenix, Arizona, to participate in the Kidney Walk in Phoenix on April 2.
Chapman will also be participating in Kidney Walks in: Hempstead, NY; Atlanta; Syracuse, NY; Philadelphia; Georgetown, Washington, DC; and New York City.
Local walkers can join his "Team Grizz" by visiting teamgrizz.com and supporting the foundation's efforts in public education, early detection, advocacy and research.