Chesterton Tribune

Class of 1981 reunion to help out classmate

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The Chesterton High School’s Class of 1981’s upcoming 30-year reunion will be more than the typical camaraderie among old classmates: The reunion will include a fundraising component to help defray medical costs for a classmate and her family.

Former CHS classmate Julie (Ruesch) Parent is scheduled to donate one of her kidneys on August 15 to her cousin, Gwen Blandford.

In August 2006, Blandford suffered a brain aneurysm at the age of 46. It was discovered at that time that the aneurysm was a result of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), an inherited disorder in which clusters of noncancerous, fluid-filled cysts develop within the kidneys.

Blandford has been receiving dialysis treatments three times a week. After failed attempts to find a suitable donor match from her immediate family, she finally conceded to allow her cousin to be tested. The tests confirmed that Parent was a suitable kidney donor match.

The reunion committee has decided to do the right thing on behalf of Parent and her family and pay it forward.

Not only are both families facing numerous out-of-pocket medical expenses, the anti-rejection medications required after the transplant are very expensive. So, in response to their former classmate’s selfless generosity, the committee is planning to combine the reunion with a fundraiser to help offset the family’s medical expenses.

The reunion will be at the Sand Creek Country Club on Saturday, August 6 from 6 p.m. to midnight.

For the classmates who would like to attend the reunion but who have not yet paid, the class will donate one-third of the cost of attending the reunion from now until August 1 to the Blandford family.

Any funds donated over the $60 cost of attending the reunion and fundraiser will be donated to the family.

Additionally, the class will host a silent auction fundraiser, with all proceeds being donated to the family.

The public is invited to attend the fundraiser/reunion.

The Class of 1981 will donate one-half of the cost of attendance for non-classmates who would like to come out and wish Blandford and Parent well with their upcoming surgeries.

The $60 cost to attend includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner and DJ entertainment at Sand Creek Country Club, as well as the opportunity to bid on the silent auction items. A cash bar will be available. RSVPs are requested by August 1.


For information, contact the reunion committee chairperson, Greg Keller, at 219-707-1752. Payments should be sent to: CHS Class of 1981 c/o Greg Keller, 903 N. Beechwood Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Make checks payable to CHS Class of 1981.




Posted 7/22/2011