"Bid high, bid high, and bid often," Dave White, Jr., encouraged the nearly 500 people at the Kidney Foundation's Wine Affair on Nov. 19 at Parkway Place in Maumee's Parkway Plaza.
Mr. White's remarks as Beth Rose was about to lower the gavel on the live auction brought the work of the foundation close to home. Mr. White was 27 and a graduate student when he received a kidney transplant after a medical profile showed he was born with one kidney. In his touching personal story that underlined the importance of the annual fund-raiser, he praised the work of the foundation that supports 4,000 patients who are living with chronic kidney disease in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Foundation executive director Holly Hoagland-Fojtik defined the agency as the area's leading advocacy and support system and described the staff and volunteers as a "trusted ally in this region's daily fight with kidney disease."
"Our goal is to ease the burden both emotionally and financially for those living with the disease as we increase prevention through public education," she said.
The foundation budget assists patients with transportation and medication. High school programs in 20 counties make students aware that diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are major causes of kidney disease.
Randy Oostra, honorary chairman and president and CEO of ProMedica Health System, the presenting sponsor, shared startling kidney disease statistics. According to Mr. Oostra, 400,000 Americans depend on dialysis each day and 90,000 are waiting for kidney transplants. There are 36 dialysis centers in northwest Ohio.
Dr. Allen Flickinger, honorary medical chairman, said should the foundation disappear, it would leave a serious void in this area. Timothy J. Dudderar and Tonya M. Robinson, event chairmen, headed the large committee that planned the black tie event with a goal of $100,000. Jim Murray will serve as honorary chairman in 2011.
A tasting of foods presented by 10 Toledo restaurants and wines poured by 15 vintners highlighted the evening, marking the 16th annual fund-raiser. Bidding on silent auction items gave guests practice for the live auction later.
It is always a meaningful celebration for John and Donna Tennant of Holland, and this year's party was no exception. Mr. Tennant received a kidney from his wife in transplant surgery in 2006. In tribute to Donna and in celebration of his good health, Mr. Tennant composed "Gift of Life," a song that he plays locally, including at the Kidney Walk.
Ms. Tennant is director of the Cardiac Step Down department at St. Luke's Hospital. Friends who shared the Tennants' table included Brad and Crystal Iagulli and Jon and Barb Malhoit of Sylvania. Ms. Iagulli is a nurse in the same department at St. Luke's.
Other ticket holders shared personal reasons for their support. Carla and Bob Blinn of Bowling Green attended in tribute to a friend who died of kidney disease. Nancy Larson has first-hand experience with the foundation's services. "They do a lot for my patients," she said. Ms. Larson is employed in a dialysis unit where many patients are from the inner city. "Of my 120 patients, 30 utilize the services of the foundation," she said.
Laura Osborne of Toledo, who was accompanied by LeRoy Steele, has a personal interest in the artwork that was auctioned, including a watercolor by Aaron Bivens. Ms. Osborne owns Laura's Framing Place and donates the custom-made frames.
Food choices included roast pork with a cider-apple glaze, presented by the Parkway food staff. Other notable foods included beef Wellington, designed in marble-size bites, and pumpkin cream puffs, both served by Marty Lahey of Manhattan's. At the LaScola tasting table, Moussa Salloukh got a helping hand from his wife, Jennifer, in a fast-moving bruschetta production. Rice Krispie squares and marshmallows to dip into warm chocolate was the Melting Pot's grand finale, following samplings of savory fondue creations.