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April 14, 2022 — On April 2, 420 beautifully attired guests were celebrating at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in downtown Detroit. These Detroit area business and healthcare professionals, as well as community leaders, were enjoying the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s signature fundraising event, the Kidney Ball. “The most fun black tie event in metro Detroit” was back, raising $406,000 through sponsors, a silent auction, donations, and an exciting live auction. After the 2020 virtual Kidney Ball, this event was postponed from November 2021 to April 2022.

“Everyone was just so happy to have the Kidney Ball in-person,” states NKFM CEO Linda Smith-Wheelock. “All our hardworking staff and volunteers created a festive and fun atmosphere for supporting the work we do for those with kidney disease and those trying to prevent it.”

During the pre-dinner cocktail reception, guests perused over 150 eclectic silent auction items in the hallways, and in the popular Meijer Kids Room. Attendees posed for complimentary photos and posted on social media using #KidneyBallDetroit.

The program was hosted by WDIV-TV’s Jason Carr, who introduced remarks from the three Kidney Ball co-chairs: John Magee, MD, Professor of Surgery, Section Head of Transplant Surgery, and Director of the University of Michigan Transplant Center; Scott LaRiche, Executive Manager and Vice President, Lou LaRiche Chevrolet; and Loren Venegas, President, IDEAL Group.

Co-Chair Loren Venegas was surprised with the Cindy Shannon award. This award was named for a long-time dedicated 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.

Following the award presentation, Carr introduced a video about Franco Bajjey, a 5 year old from SE Michigan who is living with chronic kidney disease.

This year’s live auction featured a private chef’s dinner for eight at Iridescence, a dinner cruise on a 70-foot yacht, and a Detroit Tigers Opening Day/Season Tickets package. After dinner and the live auction, guests indulged at the popular candy “bar”, sponsored by Hershey. Then, guests danced to Fifty Amp Fuse until 1:00 a.m., pausing only for late night Coney dogs, sponsored by Molson Coors.

The April 2022 Kidney Ball was sponsored by the Michigan Medicine/U-M Transplant Center, Meijer, Loren and Deb Venegas, the Artichoke Garlic Foundation, CareDX, Fresenius Kidney Care, General RV Center, Henry Ford Transplant Institute, Print-Tech, Molson Coors, MotorCity Casino, Natera, VTC Insurance Group and several brands of wine and spirits: New Amsterdam Vodka, William Hill, Mark West, LaMarca and Franciscan Estates.

Next up is the November 2022 Kidney Ball, to be held on Saturday, November 19 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel. Tickets for the Kidney Ball are $350 per guest and are available at www.nkfm.org/kidneyball or by calling the NKFM at 800-482-1455.

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