Organizers ready for first kidney benefit

One of the DaVita patients, retired long-time Sunnyside school teacher Florence Blosser, is attended to by Patient Care Technician Josiah Saenz.

Photo by Ted Escobar
One of the DaVita patients, retired long-time Sunnyside school teacher Florence Blosser, is attended to by Patient Care Technician Josiah Saenz.


Dr. Rodrigo Alfaro speaks multiple languages, including Spanish and French.

— The organizers of the first (annual) Kidney Fundraiser, Dinner, Dance and Auction are excited about what they are doing.

The benefit event will take place Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Sunnyside Eagle Aerie No. 2927 at 100 W. South Hill Road.

It will start with a 5 p.m. social hour. There will be a prime rib dinner at 6 p.m. There will be a silent auction throughout and a live auction at 7 p.m.

Sometime during the early evening, Dr. Rodrigo Alfaro, a Sunnyside Nephrologist, will speak about the challenges of kidney disease and finding a cure.

The evening will conclude with a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. The music will be provided by Sunday Best, formerly The Pony Boys.

All of this, and the tickets will cost only $20.

“Washington Beef (of Toppenish) donated the prime rib,” said Darcie Marquez, administrative assistant at DaVita Dialysis.

“People are being very generous,” added Eagles member and co-organizer Pat Mott.

Indeed. More than 50 items have been donated for the auctions. They include a truck of gravel, firewood, a case of wine, a $165 pair of cowboy boots and tickets to a concert in Spokane.

Marquez is especially excited. As one who understands the need, she is concerned about kidney donor research funding lagging behind donor funding for other serious medical needs.

Marquez noted that kidney disease affects one in every seven persons. There are 570,000 people on dialysis. It is the ninth leading cause of death, she said.

“It happens more than people think,” Mott said.

The only treatment is dialysis. Most people in treatment are in hopes of a transplant to end their suffering.

Only some people get one. Most transplants are successful, but not all of them.

In a perfect world, DaVita Administrator Rachel Browning said, your kidneys cleans toxins from your blood and combines them with water to create urine.

When that fails to occur, the dialysis machine comes into play. The process is not usually painful, but it can become bothersome. A few people suffer stomach cramps, Marquez said.

“Most people sleep right through it,” she said.

According to Brown, the average length of treatment is 10 years. One Sunnyside patient has been in treatment for 26 years.

Other patients take treatment for a period of time, and their kidneys start to function again.

Most patients take dialysis treatments three times a week, some four. Some are hooked up for three hours, some for three and half and some for four.

Mott, who grew up in Sunnyside and worked in education west of the mountains and came back after retirement, became involved mainly because she’s an Eagle.

She said she was attracted to the cause because Eagles state president Michael O’Connor has dealt with the disease in his family more than once.

Mott and Marquez noted the proceeds from the benefit evening will be donated half to the American Kidney Fund and half to the Northwest Kidney Research Centers.

Browning said the researchers are trying to find alternative ways to treat dialysis, whether by medication or some future artificial kidney.


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