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December 8, 2022 — On November 19, at its second Kidney Ball fundraiser this year, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) raised over $411,000 through a silent auction, donations, and an exciting live auction. The funds will support the NKFM’s mission of preventing kidney disease and improving the lives of those with it. At the event, the NKFM surprised three community members with awards.

The NKFM Kidney Crusader Award was presented to John Magee, MD, the University of Michigan Jeremiah and Claire Turcotte Professor of Transplantation Surgery, Section Head of Transplant Surgery, and Pediatric Abdominal Transplantation Director. Dr. John Magee on stage at November 2022 Kidney Ball

“I have worked with many health care organizations and the NKFM is one of the most effective,” stated Dr. Magee after receiving the award. He has served as a Kidney Ball co-chair since 2019.

Dr. Magee, who chaired the NKFM Board of Directors from 2018 to 2020, received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. After completing both a General Surgery residency and a multi-organ transplant surgery fellowship at the University of Michigan, he joined the U-M faculty in 1998.

His primary research interests include improving the care of adults and children with end stage organ disease, focusing on the role of transplantation, organ donation and organ allocation. He has an extensive record of leading multidisciplinary and multi-institutional teams in clinical and translational research funded by industry, foundations, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Magee has also received funding for the development and refinement of transplant policy and oversight in the U.S. He resides in Ann Arbor with his wife, Melinda and their two young daughters.

The NKFM Kidney Ball Committee honored local business executive Scott LaRiche with the Cindy Shannon Award for his leadership and outstanding service to the nonprofit organization. This award was named for a long-time dedicatedScott LaRiche on stage at November 2022 Kidney Ball with hand over heart volunteer who poured her heart and soul into the Kidney Ball. Each year, the award goes to someone who embodies that same sense of generosity and dedication to the event. LaRiche has served as a Kidney Ball co-chair since 2018. He is the Executive Manager and Vice President of Lou LaRiche Chevrolet in Plymouth. He lives with his wife Dawn and their family in Northville.

Finally, a special award was presented during the Kids Program. In June 2020, a Wixom neighborhood rallied around AJ Kashenider, who was born with kidney failure and needed a kidney transplant. Neighbor Kyle Munro was a match and, on November 18, 2021, he donated his kidney to 17 month old AJ, who had been on dialysis from birth.

AJ’s father, Alex Kashenider, is a Major with the Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG). He nominated Kyle for the Michigan Army National Guard Legion of Merit Award.

Kyle Munro smiling after Alex Kashenider pins the MIARNG Legion of Merit Award on him.
Kyle Munro, Alex Kashenider

This is an award presented to military or civilian personnel who carry out noteworthy service or achievements on behalf of or to advance the state of Michigan. Alex said he nominated Kyle because he performed an act of selfless service that lifted a substantial burden off his family. His nomination states that Kyle’s decision to donate an organ is a display of true compassion, selflessness, and bravery. His actions bring great credit upon himself, his family, his community, and the MIARNG.

The Kidney Ball was sponsored by the University of Michigan Health Transplant Center, Meijer, General RV Center, Hershey, LaMarca Prosecco, High Noon, Louis M. Martini Winery, Franciscan Estate, Loren and Deb Venegas, Dickinson Wright, Molson Coors, MotorCity Casino, Henry Ford Transplant Institute, VTC Insurance Group, and many more.

Interested in sponsoring or attending the next Kidney Ball on November 11, 2023? Visit here.

Major Alex Kashenider holding son AJ at Nov 22 Kidney Ball