The applause of 200 people was thunderous a year ago at the Black and White Ball when Mary Kay Hamilton, assistant marketing manager of DaVita Total Renal Care announced that DaVita would open a kidney dialysis center in Payson.
The dream becomes a reality this month or February, when the Rim Country Dialysis Center opens its doors.
Dialysis patients who have had a three- to four-hour round-trip commute to the Valley several times a week for treatment will regain that time.
People at the Second Annual Black and White Ball will celebrate this health care achievement for our rural community, Saturday, Jan. 26.
Nonprofit Mogollon Health Alliance sponsors the black tie affair with dinner and dancing. The first event in 2007 raised $35,000 towards the $150,000 pledged to DaVita for the dialysis center over five years.
"I thought the ball was phenomenal. I enjoyed the orchestra and the singers. The orchestra really surprised me. They showed such fine musicianship. The décor was very nice for the occasion and the dinner was good, too," Ken Brooks said of the 2007 event.
The Black and White Ball will once again be at the Mazatzal Casino. This year attendees will dance and dine under the sparkling lights of the casino's remodeled event hall.
Cocktails and appetizers are at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m.
Sonoran Swing returns with big band favorites to delight listeners and fleet-footed alike.
The 19-member band will play from 7 to 11 p.m. Their repertoire includes "As Time Goes By," "After the Lovin'" and "How High the Moon."
Cedar Ridge Restaurant chef, Rick DePhilippis, is creating the dinner that includes salmon and filet mignon entrees on the same plate.
A variety of fine wines will be served and are included in the ticket price. Mixed beverages are no-host.
"Each dinner ticket purchaser will also receive a ticket for our door prize, an exquisite 1/2 karat diamond ring donated by Payson Jewelers. You have to be present to win," Judy Baker said.
A surprise gift is also part of each place setting.
Tables at the Black and White Ball are $1,500. Single tickets are $200 each. Tickets are tax deductible.
The three-year wait is over
Area patients have lacked dialysis treatment at a local facility since December 2004, when Payson Renal Care Group closed its doors.
"Mogollon Health Alliance and Rim Country Health and Retirement asked if DaVita would be interested in a dialysis center and pulled the patient list together," Louise Gifford, regional director for DaVita said.
Patients, who hoped the Center's doors would open mid-summer 2007, have anxiously checked on the progress.
"On behalf of my husband and about 30 other people from the Payson area, I know the center is sorely needed," Judith Leslie wrote in a letter to the Roundup Nov. 2. Since construction began, she has made a weekly trek to check the progress.
"DaVita approved the facility and we are excited. We are just waiting for the department of health inspection," Gifford said.