Payson will have a kidney dialysis center this summer.
"I am so pleased to announce that DaVita is bringing dialysis back to Payson," Mary Kay Hamilton, assistant marketing manager of DaVita Total Renal Care, told the 200 people assembled for the Black and White Ball Saturday evening.
The applause was deafening.
The Black and White Ball raised $35,000 for the dialysis center.
"I am in awe," Hamilton said. "I have never experienced a community coming together this way to help their neighbors and family members with end-stage renal disease." The center will open with six chairs and be able to serve 36 patients.
"We expect it will be five years before the center reaches capacity," she said.
The dialysis center will not be named for local KMOG radio personality Don Holcombe as previously planned, but when the facility is dedicated, it will be done in his memory, said Judy Baker, director of the Mogollon Health Alliance.
"There will be something at the center in memory of him," she said.
Patients of Payson Renal Care, the dialysis provider that closed December 2004, may remember nurse Betty Liebzeit.
Liebzeit is currently stationed with DaVita in Desert Mountain, but will return to Payson when the DaVita center here is complete. The center will also employ a full-time technician and a part-time secretary.
The dialysis center will be housed in what is now a community room, on the apartment side of Rim Country Health and Retirement Community.
DaVita will lease the space and is responsible for management of the center and its staff.
"The construction manager and engineer have already been out to look at the room," said Harvey Pelovsky, administrator of RCHRC.
Remodeling is slated to begin sometime in July, Hamilton said.
"DaVita will spend more than $600,000 to complete the dialysis center, including construction, equipment, chairs, water purification room, nurses' station and reception area."
Mogollon Health Alliance has pledged $150,000 over five years in support of the dialysis center.
Payson Jewelers was the major sponsor of the event. Dean Baker won the diamond ring Payson Jewelers donated for the raffle. Dean gave it to his wife, Judy, then she donated the ring to be raffled again. Bobbie Jo Haught was drawn the second time. She gave the ring back to Judy.
Stellar Capital Investments, Len and Judy Signeski, Paul and Diane Sexton and Dean Baker also sponsored the Black and White Ball.
Everyone who purchased tickets to the Black and White Ball will have their names on a plaque mounted on the outside of the center.