Celebrate The Dialysis Center At The Black And White Ball

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Dancers and diners at Mogollon Health Alliance's Second Annual Black and White Ball have reason to celebrate.

For the first time in three years, there is a kidney dialysis center in Payson.

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Sonoran Swing will provide the dance music for the upcoming Black and White Ball. The group has become a popular feature in Payson. It performed at the first Black and White Ball last year and has also entertained crowds at Green Valley Park as part of the Payson Parks and Recreation Department's summer Concert Under the Stars series.

The Rim Country Dialysis Center was packed with people during its Jan. 17 ribbon cutting ceremony.

Dialysis patients and DaVita Renal Care Group are waiting for the final health department inspection, the final step before the treatment facility can open its doors.

Tickets are still available to the Black and White Ball.

The celebration of this health care achievement for our rural community is Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Mazatzal Casino's remodeled event room.

The 19 members of Sonoran Swing will strike up their instruments. Dancers may take their partners and dance to such big band favorites as "As Time Goes By," "After the Lovin," "How High the Moon."

Sonoran Swing will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Staff from Cedar Ridge Restaurant will serve filet mignon and salmon at the black-tie affair.

Wine will flow at the bar. Cocktails are no-host.

Cocktails and appetizers are at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

One lucky person will win a 1/2 karat diamond ring, donated by Payson Jewelers.

The nonprofit Mogollon Health Alliance sponsors the black-tie event with dinner and dancing. The first ball in 2007 raised $35,000 toward 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 d├ęcor was very nice for the occasion and the dinner was good too," Ken Brooks said of the 2007 event.

Tables at the Black and White Ball are $1,500. Single tickets are $200 each. Tickets are tax-deductible.

They may be purchased by calling (928) 472-2588 or stop in at the Mogollon Health Alliance office: 308 E. Aero, Payson between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The three-year wait is over; a special vision is a reality

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.

Now, the vision is a reality.

"DaVita spent more than $600,000 to get it done, and Mogollon Health Alliance has pledged $150,000 to help cover the cost of patient needs over the next five years," Gifford said.

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