Annual Kidney Ball raises over $600,000 for National Kidney Foundation of MI

Nearly 600 guests enjoyed the “most fun black-tie event in metro Detroit” on Saturday, December 2 and raised over $600,000 to help the more than 900,000 people in Michigan with chronic kidney disease and the many more at risk. At the annual National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s 13th annual Kidney Ball, guests were transported to Morocco in the 1940s, specifically Rick’s Café Américain from the iconic film “Casablanca.” Held at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, the evening’s program included the presentation of two awards. NKFM President and CEO Linda Smith-Wheelock presented the first Kidney Crusader Award to Jerry Yee, MD, a nephrologist with Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Yee and his wife Virginia Romano have given their time, money and expertise to support programs and services of the NKFM. Dr. Yee is also past chair of the NKFM Scientific Advisory Board. NKFM President and CEO Emeritus Dan Carney presented the Cynthia H. Shannon Award to Kidney Ball Committee Co-Chair Jon Krebs, President, Madison Heights Glass Company, Inc. This award is given annually to an individual with outstanding character and amazing generosity. The award is named for Cindy Shannon, who started the Kidney Ball in 2005 and chaired it for many years.
“The Kidney Ball is our largest fundraising event and takes over 100 wonderful staff and volunteers to make it happen. The community has again shown us their great support for those living with kidney disease and for our evidence-based programs to prevent kidney disease,” states NKFM CEO Smith-Wheelock.
After a delicious dinner prepared by the MotorCity Casino Hotel culinary staff, WDIV-TV’s Steve Garagiola started the program, which included remarks by Kidney Ball Committee Honorary Co-Chair Duane McLean, Detroit Tigers Vice President of Business Operations; Jon Krebs; and Jeff Chandler, Kidney Ball Committee Co-Chair and Executive Vice President – Surety, VTC Insurance Group.
The event included a silent auction with over 250 eclectic items and a children’s toy auction. Live auction items were promoted before the Ball, including two 18-person suite packages at the new Little Caesars Arena, one to see entertainer Katy Perry, and one for a Detroit Red Wings hockey game. During the live auction, Duane McLean surprised the audience by offering an experience to be the Detroit Tigers’ “Manager for a Day”. Bidding was so enthusiastic that McLean doubled the offer and two lucky bidders will go to Lakeland, Florida for Tigers’ spring training to meet the team, be in the dugout and enjoy other activities.
After the auctions, guests danced to Your Generation in Concert featuring Fifty Amp Fuse in the Sound Board and enjoyed the sweet candy and gum “bar” sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
The 2017 Kidney Ball Honorary Co-Chairs are Duane McLean, Executive Vice President, Business Operations – Detroit Tigers; and Ed Peper, U.S. Vice President, General Motors Fleet. The Kidney Ball Co-Chairs are Jon Krebs, President, Madison Heights Glass Company, Inc; and Jeff Chandler, Executive Vice President – Surety, VTC Insurance Group.
The 2017 Kidney Ball is sponsored by Madison Heights Glass Company, Inc; Lear Corporation; Meijer, General Motors Fleet; Mars Wrigley Confectionery; and E. & J. Gallo Winery.
For more information about the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s programs and services throughout the state, please go to or call 800-482-1455.
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