PHOENIX - They were once strangers, but now Grizz Chapman and Ryan Perkins are bonded for life.
Grizz stars in the NBC sitcom "30 Rock." His kidneys failed from his high blood pressure and had to lose 160 pounds and endure two years of intense dialysis just to be eligible for a transplant.
23-year-old Gilbert resident Ryan Perkins was so inspired by Grizz's story and public outreach that he wanted to help, not by donating time or money, but by donating his own kidney.
"It's been a pretty amazing experience for me..knowing that I've been able to help Grizz so much and by not really changing my lifestyle a ton has been easy," said Ryan. "It's nice to know that he's a good friend now - part of my family."
Last year, Ryan gave a kidney to Grizz and this year, he's walking with Team Grizz to spread their message.
"I'm walking because I want to raise awareness and I want to help spread the word that we need kidney donors and there's a huge need for them, just whatever I can do to help spread the word," said Ryan.
70 percent of all the people in Arizona waiting for an organ donation are waiting for a kidney.
"About 26 million Americans have kidney disease, that's one in nine and only about 10 know it. Warning signs can be pretty minimal, but here in Arizona, there are about 600,000 that are impacted by the disease, so it's really prevalent," said Kate Sepe of the National Kidney Foundation.
A big problem that can be solved, one step at a time.
2011 Kidney Walk
Registration: 7am - 8:30am
Walk Begins at 9am
Chase Field Ballpark
401 E. Jefferson St.