Formal Affair Lets Community Share Giving Hearts

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Kay Small makes a trip to Payson from Pine three times a week for treatment at the DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center in the Rim Country Health & Retirement Community. Help from the Mogollon Health Alliance has kept Small’s vehicle running and made it possible for her to get new tires as well.

Formal dress and generous hearts are the rule for the upcoming Black & White Ball.

The Mogollon Health Alliance will present the formal charity event Jan. 24 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. Doors open at 5 p.m. The cost is $1,200 per table or $175 per person. Proceeds allow the MHA to help patients of the DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center with a variety of expenses.

Kay Small of Pine is one of the center’s clients helped by MHA through the generosity of participants in past balls.

Small suffers from a hereditary condition which has resulted in a liver transplant in 1999, brain surgery in 2007 and now dialysis, which she has had to have for the past 16 months.

She must have dialysis three times a week. Before the DaVita Rim Country Dialysis Center opened this past spring, Small made trips for treatment to Scottsdale and then Cottonwood.

She is mostly self-sufficient, driving herself to her appointments. But when she started having car trouble, she needed help.

DaVita has a social worker to assist clients in finding resources, and it was the social worker who connected Small with MHA’s program to help Rim Country dialysis patients with their extra or unexpected expenses.

In addition to helping Small get her car fixed, the MHA dialysis assistance program made it possible for her to get new tires as well.

“They’ve been a real blessing,” Small said.

She is trying to get on the list for a kidney transplant, but it is very involved. She would have to have housing in the Valley and a caregiver around the clock, she said.

For now, she continues to make the trip from Pine to Payson for treatment at the dialysis center. The treatment takes about 3-1/2 hours. Small passes the time watching television.

She said the Rim Country Dialysis Center is smaller than the others at which she has been treated, but its quality of service is no different. There is an RN to supervise the technicians, the social worker that visits about once a month and the facility’s director, Dona Morriston, who is also a dietician.

“They’re all really nice people,” Small said.

She has been around dialysis all her life because other members of her family had to have the treatments.

“It seems the people who get into this field are really compassionate,” Small said.

Others can show that same compassion by attending the Jan. 24 Black & White Ball or making individual contributions to the MHA dialysis assistance program.

Those who attend the ball are almost guaranteed of coming away with special gifts as well as great memories.

Guests have an opportunity to win some fabulous prizes while having fun and helping those in need. The big door prize this year is a three-stone custom diamond ring from Overman Designs. Other prizes will be at least a half-dozen of the highly regarded collectible Painted Pony figurines donated by Git A Rope Publishing, Inc.; sterling and opal earrings from Payson Jewelers, and more. In fact, every place setting will have a gift, and each centerpiece will be awarded. Plus awards will be given to the best-dressed couple and the best dancers.

Sonoran Swing will once again provide the music for the evening, with special vocal performances by Gary Cordell and Mary Gilbert.

Dancers have twirled around the floor to the big band sound of the 19-piece Sonoran Swing band at previous Black and White Balls, New Year’s celebrations and in the popular Concerts Under the Stars series presented by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

“Sonoran Swing is a dance band composed of people who enjoy making music,” business manager Stan Albert said. “All the members donate their time and talents because of their love of music and the enjoyment they derive from playing for an audience.”

The band includes two vocalists, five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, vibraphone and drums.

Funds raised by earlier MHA Black & White Balls made it possible for the Rim Country Dialysis Center to open in the spring of 2008.

The opening of this center means that the loved ones, friends and neighbors of Rim residents have a place locally to care for their medical needs.

Funds raised this year will help care for dialysis patients’ medical bills, assure they have transportation to and from treatment, and other expenses that might come up to help ease the pain and suffering from such an overwhelming disease.

For more information on donating or purchasing tickets, call MHA at (928) 472-2588.

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