Kidney Klause Brightens Holidays for Needy Families
December 16, 2008 — Earle Mack School of Law shared the holiday spirit with three Delaware Valley families who struggle with the financial and physical effects of kidney disease.
The Dec. 16 event, co-sponsored by the Earle Mack School of Law, the National Kidney Foundation and the Women’s Law Society, provided little luxuries and basic necessities for two families from Northeast Philadelphia and one from Wilmington, Del.
The families arrived by chauffeur-driven limousine to campus, where scores of gifts large and small that were selected to meet their personal needs and desires awaited them under a trio of Christmas trees.
Among the gifts were a laptop computer and club box seats to a 76ers game for Colin Smith, a Northeast Philadelphia resident who is coping with the twin diagnoses of kidney disease and lymphoma, as well as a small fleet of trucks for his 2-year-old son and stuffed animals for his 8-month-old son.
The gifts included necessities, such as a $2,700 payment for a utility bill that kidney patient Veronica Carter racked up with the power-hungry hemodialysis unit she uses in the home she shares with her husband and four of their grandchildren.
“I am so blessed,” an overjoyed Carter said, as her grand-children unwrapped dolls, games, clothing, a 24-inch television set and other gifts. “I did not expect this, not in a million years.”
Now in its third year, Kidney Klause shattered last year’s fundraising tally of $5,000. Led by Drexel 3L Kristen Behrens, the Women’s Law Society raised nearly $15,000 this year – collecting $2,000 of that total within a 24-hour period.
“For months and months, we have tirelessly wrapped presents and begged people to help out,” Behrens said, calling the recipients true heroes for persevering in the face of a crippling disease.
Donations came from varied sources, including the National Kidney Foundation, McDevitt Development, Wal-Mart, The Gap,Sam's Club, Exelon, the Philadelphia 76ers and Phi Sigma Sigma of Drexel University, as well as students, faculty and staff from Earle Mack School of Law.
The families were chosen by Earle Mack School of Law, based on essays they wrote about the ways that kidney disease has affected their lives.
The event provides genuine relief for kidney patients and their loved ones, said Tamika Coleman, program manager for the National Kidney Foundation in the Delaware Valley.
“It makes their lives more difficult when they have to go to dialysis or receive a kidney transplant,” Coleman said. “To bring a little joy to their lives is a rewarding thing.”
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