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Gift of Life Gala

Benefiting the National Kidney Foundation

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry

The 2018 Gift of Life Gala brought out hundreds of supporters of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for the organization’s annual fundraiser. The evening began as Mable Barringer, Executive Director of NKF, welcomed guests to a cocktail reception and silent auction in The Skyway at The Peabody. The crowd also spilled onto the hotel’s rooftop to take in the scenic river views at sunset.

As dinner started, Board President Joanna Hudson and Gala Chairman Susan O. Smith welcomed the crowd.

This year’s honorees, John T. Morris, MD, PC, Carole M. Headley, DNSC, ACNP-BC, RN, CNN, and Lisa Varner, LCSW, were recognized for their work promoting the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. 

Hudson called Dr. Morris to the stage and recognized him saying, “Dr. Morris grew up in Memphis and completed his medical training at the University of Tennessee. He has been in private practice in Memphis since 2001 and is currently an active staff member of Baptist Hospital and serves as the consulting Nephrologist for the Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support team there. In addition to his office and hospital practice, Dr. Morris rounds at 11 outpatient dialysis clinics throughout the city. Additionally he has served as the medical director for the DaVita Memphis Southeast Dialysis center since September 2017.”

Then Hudson recognized the next honoree, saying, “Dr. Headley received a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Samford University and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Her initial work as a registered nurse was within the dialysis program, where she developed an enthusiasm for nephrology. After marrying and moving to Memphis with her husband, Dr. Arthur Stacey Headley, she resumed practice in the nephrology section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She was accepted into the clinical doctorate program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing and graduated with her doctorate degree in 2003. Dr. Headley has served on several committees and boards that have helped to shape the framework of nephrology policy and practice. In 2015, she received one of the highest honors given by the American Nephrology Nurses Association, being selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to the organization.”

Hudson also recognized the final honoree, saying, “Lisa Varner is a native Memphian. She received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and her master’s degree from Oklahoma University. She returned to Memphis and has worked for Youth Villages, Fresenius Medical Care, Renal Care Group and is now employed at DaVita Memphis Central. She has been a National Kidney Foundation volunteer for many years, helping with the NKF patient support group, the Kidney Walk and other NKF events.” 

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