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Shine A Light gala brings locals together to fight kidney disease

Photos by Kelly Jean Marion -- follow her @kellyjean247

Van Dusen Gardens boasted a large group of good-hearted individuals who were dressed to the nines on Sunday for the inaugural Shine A Light Kidney Gala.

"Less than 50 years ago, kidney failure was a death sentence. We've come a long way, and working together, the possibilities are endless!"

Attending the event, were many in the health care industry, as well as many who have either directly or indirectly been affected by kidney disease. 

Four of those individuals who have been, and continue to be, affected by kidney disease shared their stories with the guests, causing both laughter and tears.

Kate Huffman, the current PNE Manager of Community Relations and an avid volunteer, had a life changing moment when she was diagnosed with kidney disease at the ripe age of 25. Despite this discovery, she tries to live a normal life: she manges with the extremely low energy at times and the "fancy pill pack" she gets to carry around. With a smile on her face she proudly announced that for the last year her kidney has been functioning at a stable 20 per cent, while pointing out that most of us in the audience were probably functioning at 100 per cent. 

Jared Provost, whose parents were at my table, is a husband, barber, golf enthusiast, and kidney patient. He manages his own dialysis treatments at Vancouver General Hospital 3 nights per week. Having endured some tough times, and having the scars to prove it, he claims to be "apprehensive but optimistic" for his next transplant.  

Patricia and Patrick Ng, are siblings who within a small time frame, discovered that they both had kidney disease. When Patrick was diagnosed, the family was thrilled to find out that Patricia was a perfect match for a kidney transplant. Hearts were shattered when they discovered that she too had kidney disease. Fortunately they both now have had transplants and are healthy, happy and humble. 

"I look at the scars with humility and grace and I think they are beautiful. They are a daily reminder of how lucky we are." - Patricia Ng

Their stories were touching, inspiring and powerful. To thank them for sharing them with us, our emcee for the evening Mi-Jung Lee, gave them a small gift to take home. 

Before and after the speeches there was plenty of time for mingling while indulging in some wine, cocktails and a welcome glass of champagne.

There was also a good spread of hors d'oeuvres, including candied salmon, quiche, chicken skewers, spring rolls, risotto and grilled vegetables followed by a beautiful assortment of desserts. Catering was provided by Truffles Fine Foods. 

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