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Gift of Life Gala

Benefiting the Kidney Foundation

Story by Bill Bannister  |  Photos by Don Perry

The mission of the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee is to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of patients and families affected by those diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation. Countless people in the Mid-South are helped by the important work of this fine organization each year. Two hundred members, along with their families and staff, gathered in The Skyway atop The Peabody Hotel in Downtown Memphis to honor the hard work and diligence of those who play a vital role in the work of The Kidney Foundation.

The festivities kicked off with a cocktail reception featuring two fully stocked bars, along with fresh fruits and cheeses. White-coated Peabody staff passed around heavenly hors d’oeuvres crafted by hotel chefs, including a perfectly battered Shrimp Tempura, and the most delightful spanakopita this side of Athens.

Guests enjoyed music by Bamboo Forest, featuring the fabulous vocal stylings of Tonyaa Staples, as they perused the many unique and valuable items up for bid on the silent auction tables. Items included diamond necklaces, rings, and accessories from King Furs and Fine Jewelry. There was artwork by Memphis artist Elaine Neely, leather spirit bags in Memphis blue and Tennessee orange from Donna Hathaway at Lakeland Leatherworks, fine wines and spirits, as well as gift certificates from The Rendezvous and Folks Folly, which also donated a bottle of Gentleman Jack Whiskey.

Board President Joanna Hudson and Gala Chair Susan O. Smith welcomed the guests, who sat down to a fabulous dinner that began with a fresh salad of mixed greens, marinated mushrooms, golden beets and grape tomatoes with roasted pine nuts and a basil vinaigrette. The main course was filet mignon and herb crusted salmon with a basil merlot glaze on wild mushroom risotto and fresh sauteed spinach with tomatoes and onions. This delightful repast was topped off with a dessert of almond espresso tiramisu in a chocolate cup with amaretto

Special honorees of the evening were Gift of Life Award winner and Chief Medical Officer of University of Tennessee Nephrology Dr. Robert Canada, MD, and Registered Nurse Hazel Marsh, who has served on the board of The National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee since 2008.  


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