In a year of unprecedented changes, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s 16th annual Kidney Ball is going virtual. Hosted by Channel 4 reporter Steve Garagiola, the first-ever virtual Kidney Ball will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 and raise funds for the more than 1 million Michiganders who live with chronic kidney disease.
Guests can tune into the live online broadcast at no cost through the NKFM’s website; the foundation recommends using Google Chrome to watch. While this year’s Kidney Ball will not adhere to a black-tie dress code, the event will check in on some watch parties.
Events scheduled for the night include reminiscing about previous Kidney Ball events, updates on the NKFM’s programs, and silent and live auctions. Those interested in attending can begin bidding on the items, which include everything from a New Year’s Eve Ski Trip to a private dinner at Founders Brewing Co., through this website from now until 9 p.m. on Nov. 14. A pre-recorded performance by Your Generation in Concert will close out the event.
The virtual ball is the latest way NKFM has pivoted during the pandemic. This year, the Kidney Walk fundraiser — an annual, family-friendly event that raises funds to help send kids with kidney disease to camp, provide services to those with the disease, and more — was split into three virtual Kidney Walks. On top of that, the foundation has had to adjust its services and programs to continue its mission during the pandemic.
“The Kidney Ball is very important this year because all the programs that we have switched to virtual are helping more people in Michigan than ever before,” says Lisa Schutz Jelic, director of development at NKFM. “People who previously would not have been able to attend our programs can now participate.”
She says the foundation’s requests for emergency funds — a program that provides a one-time help of up to $100 to those with kidney disease who have urgent needs — are also up 300 percent from last year. “We need all our great Kidney Ball supporters to help us by bidding in the auctions, which helps our programs and services,” Schutz Jelic says. “This way we can bring change to more people all across the state.”
For more information, visit nkfm.org.