Loren Venegas, president of Ideal Contracting in Detroit, is one of this year’s honorary co-chairs of the Kidney Ball. Presented by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, this event is a fundraiser dedicated to raising awareness for kidney disease through entertainment and auctions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be held virtually and take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14. DBusiness Daily News spoke with Venegas about his experience with the nonprofit organization and what supporters can expect this year.
DDN: How did you get involved with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan?
LV: I got involved in the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan because my daughter got a rare disease many years ago that took her kidneys out. She had a transplant already and, unfortunately, the disease came back, but now it’s gone again, so she’s looking for a kidney. She got her first transplant at the University of Michigan, and I got really interested in their whole program. I realized a lot of people have chronic kidney disease, and there’s a lot of different types. I thought I could do something, and I wanted to help.
DDN: What are some of your responsibilities as co-chair of the Kidney Ball Executive Committee?
LV: I really get the word out about the National Kidney Foundation and bring awareness that this organization is there. As a co-chair, I’m out there (working) with other companies around the state of Michigan, and I also help with the Kidney Ball. We do our Kidney Ball every year; it started 16 years ago to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Kidney Foundation. A lot of people have been in touch with the Kidney Ball and, unfortunately, it’s going to be a little different this year. We’re having it virtually this Saturday from 7 to. You just have to get online and type in NKFM.org.
DDN: How has the National Kidney Foundation been impacted this year with COVID-19?
LV: Even with COVID-19, we’ve been able to still get out there. We’re also able to adapt a lot of the in-person programs to a virtual format so we can continue to serve all across Michigan. We got into this virtual way of getting in touch with people because of our team working really fast and hard to get us into these meetings with people we can respect, and are holding virtual events like our Kidney Ball and some of our (charity) walks. COVID-19 has impacted the foundation, but we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of our supporters continue on with it despite the changes we’ve had to make.
DDN: What can people attending this year’s virtual event expect?
LV: Well, I think that they can expect a pretty cool show! We’re going to have our band playing, and there’s going to be a few of us that have a party. We’re actually really pushing for everybody to have a few friends over and have a Kidney Ball party that we can get live feeds of. We’re also going to have a big silent auction that people can participate in and a live auction that evening with about five items that I think people will be very interested in trying to bid on. We hope it’s going to be one of the best virtual Kidney Balls out there. We’re actually calling it our “Black Tie Kidney Ball Event,” and we’re going to get some people that we think are actually getting black ties. It’s going to be very interesting, and we’ll see how it comes out. We’re looking forward to it!
DDN: What is the Kidney Ball’s mission this year?
LV: I think the mission is really going to be the same this year. We’ll prevent kidney disease and spread awareness to folks. We actually have a program that’s really kicking off called “Regie’s Rainbow Adventure.” You can look it up on the internet or on our site to get more information, but it’s a really cool program that speaks to preschool and kindergarten children. It’s about eating properly and trying to get really young children to understand what’s going on. We want kids to take care of their teeth and take care of themselves in general, and “Regie’s Rainbow Adventure” involves a broccoli superhero name Regie that will help them do that. I mean, our whole program is about taking care of everybody, but we’re going after kids as well now.
A direct link will be shared on the National Kidney Foundation’s website, NKFM.org, in the days leading up to the virtual event. Further questions can be directed to 800-482-1455.