Twenty-Ninth Annual Gala to Honor Legacies of Individuals Fighting to End Kidney Disease

October 20, 2014

One in three American adults is at high risk for kidney disease, and more than one million Illinois residents already suffer from the condition. On Saturday, December 6, the 29th Annual Gift of Life Gala will celebrate the legacies of the incredible individuals who have devoted their lives to ending kidney disease and changing these statistics at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Chicago.

Honorees this year include Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and Mark L. Schwartz. These two outstanding individuals have devoted their lives and legacies to philanthropy, advocacy and ending kidney disease.  In their own ways, they have given the gift of life to kidney patients across Illinois.

Mike Adamle, sports personality and former American football player, currently of NBC 5 Chicago, will join as emcee for the event. Music for the evening will be provided by Chicago Catz.

Local Lincoln Park resident Tim Whiting has been attending the Gift of Life Gala for the past four years, and has created his own legacy through the gift of life – by making the altruistic decision to donate his kidney to a stranger in 2010.

Tim’s mother desperately needed a transplant, but he unfortunately was not a match. In working with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, Tim found out that he could still help his mother through a paired exchange, organized at Northwestern University. “On August 23, 2010, we did a three-person swap, so it was three donors and three recipients,” Tim explains. “Seven days after the surgery, we all consented to meeting. It was probably the most moving experience of my life. It was really emotional, and it was awesome and powerful.”

Tim hopes to bring his mom – who currently lives in Arizona - to the 2014 Gift of Life Gala in December, to help celebrate the fifth anniversary of her new kidney.

“The NKFI saved my mom’s life by getting us in touch with the right program, educating us, and by being able to explain my story. This has been a miracle in all our lives, of everyone involved. […] The opportunity to give life was greater than putting money in a church basket, giving money to a homeless person, feeding a homeless person; all these are great things, but there is no greater feeling that I could achieve than giving in the sense of donating my kidney.”

The Gift of Life Gala will draw hundreds of people who have created their own legacies in the fight against kidney disease for a night of networking, dancing, cocktails, dinner, and a silent auction. Proceeds raised from the evening will go directly to support the crucial programs and services provided by the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

Tickets to the Gift of Life Gala are $450 per person, while table sponsorships are available from $5,000 to $20,000.  For more information, to purchase a ticket, or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit or contact Lena Clement at or (312) 321-1500.

To see photos from last year's Gift of Life Gala, click here.

About the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for or affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment. To learn more, please visit