Ringgold, Georgia, gym Our House Studios hosts special Stepping for Kidneys fundraising class

Photo contributed by Antonio McMath / Antonio McMath leads a step aerobics class at Our House Studios in Ringgold.

For Antonio McMath, kidney disease isn't a statistic. It's the faces of many people he knows.

His father suffered from the disease, as did his wife's father before receiving a new kidney several months ago.

"They found him in a closet passed out with kidney disease," McMath said of his father-in-law's surprise diagnosis. "He went from working on the railroad to where he couldn't do anything because of dialysis."

Kidney disease can have effects ranging from shortness of breath to weakened bones to death. It affects 37 million people nationwide, including one of the young men McMath mentors through his personal workout-centered "Transform" program, who has dealt with kidney disease since the age of 4 or 5, McMath said.

In honor of those close to him and to support others dealing with kidney disease, McMath began volunteering with the local Kidney Foundation around eight years ago, dancing in the nonprofit's annual Dare to Dance fundraising competition.