People & Possibilities at the Shine A Light Kidney Gala

Shine A Light Kidney Gala

Van Dusen Gardens boasted a large group of good-hearted individuals who were dressed to the nines on Sunday for the inaugural Shine A Light Kidney Gala.

“Less than 50 years ago, kidney failure was a death sentence. We’ve come a long way, and working together, the possibilities are endless!”

Attending the event, were many in the healthcare industry, as well as many who have either directly or indirectly been affected by kidney disease.

Four of those individuals who have been, and continue to be, affected by kidney disease shared their stories with the guests, causing both laughter and tears.

Kate Huffman, the current PNE Manager of Community Relations and an avid volunteer, had a life changing moment when she was diagnosed with kidney disease at the ripe age of 25. Despite this discovery, she tries to live a normal life, other than the extremely low energy at times and the “fancy pill pack” she gets to carry around. With a smile on her face she proudly announced that for the last year her kidney has been functioning at a stable 20%, while pointing out that most of us in the audience were probably functioning at 100%.

Kate Huffman

Jared Provost, whose parents were sitting at my table, is a husband, barber, golf enthusiast, and kidney patient. He manages his own dialysis treatments at Vancouver General Hospital three nights per week. Having endured some tough times, and having the scars to prove it, he claims to be “apprehensive but optimistic” for his next transplant.

Jared Provost

Patricia and Patrick Ng, are siblings who within a small time frame, discovered that they both had kidney disease. When Patrick was diagnosed, the family was thrilled to find out that Patricia was a perfect match for a kidney transplant. Hearts were shattered when they discovered that she too had kidney disease. Fortunately they both now have had transplants and are healthy, happy and humble.

“I look at the scars with humility and grace and I think they are beautiful. They are a daily reminder of how lucky we are.” – Patricia Ng

Patricia and Patrick Ng

Their stories were touching, inspiring and powerful. To thank them for sharing them with us, our emcee for the evening Mi-Jung Lee, gave them a small gift to take home.

(L to R) Patrick Ng, Patricia Ng, Jared Provost, Katt Huffman, Mi-Jung Lee

(L to R) Patrick Ng, Patricia Ng, Jared Provost, Katt Huffman, Mi-Jung Lee

Before and after the speeches there was plenty of time for mingling while indulging in some wine, cocktails and a welcome glass of champagne.

There was also a good spread of hors d’oeuvres, including candied salmon, quiche, chicken skewers, spring rolls, risotto and grilled vegetables followed by a beautiful assortment of desserts.

Catering was provided by Truffles Fine Foods.

There was also live music to set the mood, performed by a trio from the Point Grey Music Strings Department. 

Point Grey Strings Music

Both the silent auction and the live auction boasted some incredible items, ranging from autographed Canucks jerseys and art pieces, to weekend getaways and clay making.

Live auction items were as follows:

  • WestJet Flights for Two – sold for approx $1200
  • Mark Heine “Impasto White” – sold for approx $1300
  • Sonja Kobrehel “Red Ship” – sold for $2300
  • Private Scotch Tasting in Three Centuries Antique Shop – sold for $1800
  • ShearWater Resort and Marino Edo Tour package for two – sold for $6500
  • Enrico Koning Designer Cabinet – sold for $6600
  • Electric Kool Aid Vase by Jeff Holmwood – sold for $2000 to Dr. Pat, the Auctioneer
  • “Come Clay With Me” Workshop with Suzy Birstein – sold for $400
  • Gillian Armitage “Rose & Alba” – sold for $1500
  • Vancouver Canucks Package (donated by Rick and Janice Jones) – sold for $1000
  • Whistler Weekend Getaway with golf, spa, dinner, ziptrek – sold for $1500
  • Linda Frimer “Wilderness Garden” – sold for $600
  • Clifford George “That Special Time of Day on the Road to Bonavista” (John Cabot landed there in 1498) – sold for $1600
  • Richmond Cactus Club wine and food tasting – sold for $400
  • Mark Heine “An Afternoon Nap” – sold for $1250
  • Sonja Kobrehel “Jungle-Bird” – sold for $2750
  • Wine Selection from Laughing Stock and Burrowing Owl (12 bottles donated by BC Nephrologist Wine Club) – sold for $750

It was a successful and entertaining live auction led by the humorous Newfoundlander, Dr. Pat Parfrey.

“I’m a Paddy who’s taking a piss out of everyone else,” Dr. Parfrey said in a boisterous manner. “I’m a clinical researcher not an auctioneer!”

With ticket sales, the silent auction and the live auction, the event raised $120,000. This money will fund the KRESCENT program, which supports up and coming researchers across the country, we well as the Kidney Foundation’s patient services and education programs.

Dr. John Gill, President of the Canadian Society of Nephrology, and Dr. Morrison Hurley, President of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s BC Branch, closed the event with some final words.

Dr. John Gill, President of Canadian Society of Nephrology and John Gill, President of The Kidney Foundation of Canada (BC Branch)

Dr. John Gill, President, Canadian Society of Nephrology and John Gill, President, The Kidney Foundation of Canada (BC Branch)

“Kidney disease is indiscriminatory,” Dr. Gill explained. “It can affect anyone,  of any race, at any age. We’ve raised a glass or two, shed a tear or two, and most importantly learned about kidney disease. I thank you for being here, your support means a lot.”

For more information:

Kidney Foundation of Canada

BC Provincial Renal Agency

Canadian Society of Nephrology

For more photos check out my Shine A Light set on Flickr. 

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