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Concert aims to help dialysis patients

Posted: December 19, 2012 - 1:06am

A concert Saturday will benefit a start-up nonprofit organization that aids local dialysis patients.

Organized by Debra Baylor, a social worker, the concert will be held at Greenbrier High School from 2-4 p.m. and feature several Greenbrier High School graduates.

“Becky Baylor, Amarachi Erondu and Haley Woods will be singing trios as well as solos and have won numerous awards for their vocal excellence on the state, regional and local level,” wrote Baylor in an e-mail. “There will be dance performances, including a jazz dancer who dances with incredible skill and athleticism.”

The inaugural Concert For a Cause: A Celebration of Life will aid the Augusta Kidney Benefit, which aims to help patients on dialysis. Tickets for the concert are $10 per person or $25 maximum for a family. Dialysis patients will be admitted free of charge. Refreshments will be served after the concert.

The purpose of the Augusta Kidney Benefit is to assist local dialysis patients with unmet financial needs that impact the ability of patients to comply with dialysis.

“The number of patients needing dialysis is increasing at an alarming rate due to the increase in the two main causes of kidney failure: high blood pressure and diabetes,” Baylor said.

Although Baylor has never smoked and was not exposed to second-hand smoke, she recently was diagnosed with lung cancer, which forced her to quit working. She said she wanted to organize the concert because she truly understands what it’s like to live with a life-threatening disease.

“I feel truly blessed to have worked with some of the most courageous and caring individuals I have ever met,” she said. “The staff who take care of patients on dialysis have such compassion and kindness. This concert will kick off a local non-profit foundation, Augusta Kidney Benefit, which is desperately needed to help patients on dialysis.”

Populations hit hardest by end-stage kidney disease or kidney failure are African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders, according to information provided by Baylor. Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death among Georgians.

“Kidney disease also has a highly genetic component and tends to run in families,” she said. “The main nonprofit charitable foundation which provides financial assistance to patients on dialysis is the American Kidney Fund. Due to the increase in the dialysis population, as well as the state of the economy, this organization runs out of money in November and does not open their grant programs up until March or April of the following year. They cover needs like gas for the car so patients can go to their dialysis treatments three times a week.”

Proceeds from the Concert For a Cause: A Celebration of Life will pick up where the American Kidney Fund can’t.

“If there is one message that I would like to relay to the public, it is for people to see their doctor for an annual physical and have their blood pressure checked regularly, take their diabetic medicines and follow the recommended diet,” Baylor said.

For more information about the Concert For a Cause, email Baylor at dbaylor0@gmail.com.

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