DaVita means ‘he or she gives life.'
Now, even before the renal care group officially opens the doors of its Payson facility to its first patients, DaVita made a decision that will improve the quality of life for patients and families.
DaVita is giving the money the Mogollon Health Alliance raised to get a dialysis center here, and the money MHA will continue to raise, back.
One year ago, MHA made a $150,000 commitment over five years to lure DaVita to open a dialysis center in Payson.
"We (the Mogollon Health Alliance) will use the money to help patients on dialysis with the bills that accumulate when a family goes through this kind of trauma," said Kenny Evans, president of the Mogollon Health Alliance.
"In my 21 years in the dialysis field in Arizona, I have never seen this kind of community support," Louise Gifford, regional director for DaVita, told the packed room at the Black and White Ball.
At mid-January's grand opening celebration DaVita announced it had more than 30 patients signed up for care, which will mean double shifts.
It also means they will seek a second location in the area to meet patient needs.
Len and Judy Signeski, major contributors to the dialysis center, were "heartsick" when the former renal care group pulled out of Payson.
Judy's father died of renal failure in April.
"At age 95, there was no way he was going to the Valley for dialysis three times a week. His siblings, his children, his grandchildren -- we're all here to help this cause in his memory. If there was anything we would
support, it is this," she said.
MHA was successful in raising $50,000 for the dialysis center in 2007, $35,000 came from the Black and White Ball. MHA has not tabulated figures for the 2008 event, but, the same as last year, tables were full.
"We are so fortunate people here who have such generosity care enough to make this happen," Judy Signeski added.
"It takes everyone here to make this happen and I use and abuse every one of you, so I thank you," said MHA director Judy Baker.
After the meal and announcements, the musicians of Sonoran Swing struck up their instruments and dancers glided onto the floor.
A few people won prizes at the ball.
Shirley McGeary won the .60 carat diamond ring donated by Payson Jewelers.
Kenny and Linda Evans won best dressed. Marie and Bill Mennen won best dancers.
"Everybody has worked so hard. I am so thrilled for Payson. What a wonderful function tonight," Mike Overstreet said.