Marshmallow Mondays

Gift Of Life Gala

2015-03-14 15.55.56What an evening we had on Saturday at the Gift Of Life Gala in Louisville!

As you recall, Ryan and I were invited to share our transplant story at this special fundraiser that supports The National Kidney Foundation.

The evening consisted of impressive silent and live auctions that were filled with all sorts of really cool items, a fun and very addicting “Ring Toss” game, drinks, three-course dinner, various awards being presented and a live band.

Joining us at our table were Nicole Nelson and her mother, Yvette. You all know Nicole by now. She was the first person to offer her kidney to Ryan, and she’s become an amazing friend since then. Nicole is now enrolled in a paired kidney exchange program, following in her mother’s footsteps. Yvette donated her kidney to a woman a few years ago, and both women are doing very well. We simply think the world of Nicole and Yvette. The compassion that lives inside of their hearts is truly inspirational and one of a kind. It really meant a lot to us that they decided to travel from Pennsylvania to attend the Gala with us. We laughed, we shared tears of joy, we had great conversations, and they even joined us in Lexington for brunch on Sunday. What a treat!

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2015-03-14 18.23.25Guests of the Gala included various types of doctors and specialists, kidney transplant recipients, volunteers of the NKF, employees of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, and many, many others whose lives have somehow been affected by kidney disease. There were so many stories within that room. Seated next to us was a beautiful couple, married for 42 years. The husband is currently fighting a very difficult battle in trying to receive a transplant. Listening to their story and sharing our own with him was a very humbling reminder of how blessed we’ve been in Ryan’s transplant journey. Our lives are moving forward in a healthy, positive direction, but that is not the case for so many others who are still waiting, still suffering and still fighting. Having been there, our hearts just ache for these people.

Knowing that was a big motivation for my speech. If we can offer a bit of hope to those who are suffering, then sharing our story is exactly what we’ll continue to do. Many of you who follow our Match For Ryan page have already watched my speech, but in case you haven’t seen it, feel free to watch it below. It’s about 8 minutes in length.

A really cool aspect of the evening was the special appeal, which occurred right after my speech. Attendees were given the opportunity to stand up and make donations to the NKF in support of their fight against kidney disease. As each donation was made, a balloon was tied to the donor’s chair. By the end of the evening, there was a sea of orange balloons representing various dollar amounts that will support the NKF. I took this photo about halfway through that portion of the evening, so by the end of it there were many, many more balloons soaring in the air. It was such a beautiful, hopeful sight to see.

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This was an incredibly memorable evening for us, one we will always treasure and one that we are proud to have been a part of this year.


1 Comment so far
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So proud of you two! The balloons are so symbolic; I love that. You look great Ryan! You too B! XO

Comment by Kim Holland

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