HARRISONBURG, Va., April 30, 2010 -- With her coach and many of her teammates in attendance, JMU women's basketball player Dawn Evans (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast) Friday was introduced as an ambassador for The NephCure Foundation.

As an ambassador, the Dukes' junior guard will help to raise awareness of the kidney diseases FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and Nephrotic Syndrome (NS).

Evans, who was diagnosed with FSGS in December 2009, averaged a school-record 24.6 points and ranked among the national scoring leaders last season.  She was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament after leading the Dukes to the CAA championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The NephCure Foundation, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization, serves as a resource for families dealing with kidney diseases and funds research seeking treatment and a cure.

At Friday's news conference NephCure Foundation development manager Nadia Stadnycki presented Evans with a NephCure Foundation shirt in JMU purple.

Stadnycki told those attending Friday's event that FSGS affects as many as 100,000 adults.  She said that The NephCure Foundation is working with the National Institutes of Health on a $10 million initiative to launch clinical trials with FSGS sufferers.

JMU head women's basketball Kenny Brooks said Friday that Evans "has been an inspiration to us and has made (our team) come together as a family.

Evans acknowledged Friday that coping with FSGS "has been an emotional roller coaster" and called the NephCure ambassador announcement " a wonderful moment."

NephCure's other ambassadors include sports figures Alonzo Mourning and Herschel Walker, along with Jesse Jackson, Jr.