5Q: Dr. John C. Magee, Co-chair of the 2019 Kidney Ball

Dr. John C. Magee, director of the University of Michigan’s Transplant Center in Ann Arbor, will serve as chairman and one of this year’s co-chairs of the Kidney Ball Executive Committee for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.
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Dr. John C. Magee
Dr. John C. Magee // Photo courtesy of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

Dr. John C. Magee, director of the University of Michigan’s Transplant Center in Ann Arbor, will serve as chairman and one of this year’s co-chairs of the Kidney Ball Executive Committee for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. He will lead the Kidney Ball, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, with fellow co-chair Duane McLean, executive vice president of business operations for the Detroit Tigers. Magee has been a part of the foundation’s board since 2012, where he served as secretary for two years, then vice chair, and now chairman.

The ball begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour at The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit and will include specialty cocktails by Atwater, New Amsterdam, and LaMarca Prosecco. There will also be a beer and wine tasting, dinner, a live auction of more than 250 items, performances by the tribute band Your Generation in Concert, and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

DBusiness interviewed Magee about his involvement in the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, based in Ann Arbor, and what guests can expect from this year’s Kidney Ball.

DDN: As co-chair of the Kidney Ball Executive Committee, what are your responsibilities?

JM: My responsibilities are to help get the team organized. To help with the venue, and to think about how to incorporate guests and other people who want to attend. Making sure that the working committee that’s in charge of all the auction items maintains enthusiasm and gets the job done. We need to get a fair number of sponsors for the event as well as donation and auction items, so we’re kind of responsible for all aspects of it. We have a great team helping me. I don’t really do any of it alone; Duane and I are responsible for helping the team achieve the vision. 

DDN: How did you get involved with The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan?
JM: I got involved about 18 years ago when I started working with them to advance their mission of preventing kidney disease and improving the lives of the people who are suffering from kidney disease. I’m a transplant surgeon and … I get to see the end effects of kidney disease. I also get to give the opportunity to provide kidney transplants to patients, which is the best form of therapy if you have to be there. The best option is to prevent the disease, rather than treat it. I’m interested in preventing the disease and helping people (who both don’t need) transplants as well as help the people that get transplants. The Kidney Foundation was a great opportunity to get involved in making that mission happen.

DDN: How has the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan performed over the last year?

JM: The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is one of the best organizations I’ve ever been a part of. They really have a great team that is mission-focused and driven, and they achieve great results. They have many programs that help prevent kidney disease as well as improve the lives of many of the patients who suffer with it, so they have many activities. They try to prevent diabetes, we do work with school aged children, and there’s something called Regie’s Rainbow Adventure. It talks about nutrition and physical activity. There’s personal action toward health that’s meant to prevent adults (from developing) chronic diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease … It allows family and friends to be involved in that process as well, talking about how to live more healthy. The kidney foundation has also received its 12th consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, which is pretty much unprecedented for financial management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Over 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to programs and services, which makes it very effective in helping the people we’re trying to serve.

DDN: What are the goals for the Kidney Ball?

JM: Our goals for the Kidney Ball is first and foremost to help raise money to help support the programs that the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan runs. One goal is to raise $500,000 this year. Another goal is to spread the word about kidney disease in both the awareness of it as well as the opportunity to help make a difference in our state. And, the other goal is to get people together and celebrate all that’s been accomplished. The guest speaker this year is a young boy who has had a kidney transplant, actually. I suspect his comments will be inspiring to those that attend.

DDN: What sets the Kidney Ball apart?

JM: I think the Kidney Ball is unique in that it’s a great, fun, social event that both a group of people that have known each other over a long time as well as new friends can get together to have a good time in the early winter and raise money for a good cause. So, I think it’s both a lot of fun and something you can feel good about after attending that you made a difference.

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