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July 16, 2014

Fundraiser set for Saturday to benefit local woman

TIFTON — If you're out and about on Saturday and you're looking for some good food, good music and a good cause, stop by Crossroads Choppers on U.S. Highway 82 West in Tifton. The facility will be hosting a benefit for local resident Angie Williams, who is undergoing dialysis and awaiting her second kidney transplant.

Larry Butler, whose band Larry Butler and Friends will play at the event, instigated the fundraiser.

"If you ever notice, at benefits, bikers are always there," he said. He said Williams' friends and Jim Holloway, owner of Crossroads, will be providing the food and facility at very little cost, and local merchants have donated gift cards for a raffle, at a cost of $1 per ticket. A bank account has also been established at Colony Bank for donations – the Angie Williams Donation Account.

Butler said in addition to his band, the Todd Williams Band will play, and there will be barbecue plates available for a donation. The event will begin at noon and conclude at 5 p.m.

The donations received will be used to help defray medical costs and the travel expenses associated with the multiple trips Williams has to make to Atlanta to Emory each month, as well as her living expenses. Williams worked until she just couldn't work any more, and is awaiting disability payments, which are set to begin in November.

"We don't know how long it will take for her to have a transplant," Butler said. "We have to be realistic. This is to survive up until the transplant. You have to live. You've got to eat."

Williams was a severe diabetic for 25 years, and it caused her own kidney to fail. After undergoing dialysis for five years, she was able to get a transplant.

"He was in his 20s; it was a motorcycle accident," she said of her donor. The transplant took place in 2009, and she also received a pancreas, which means she is no longer diabetic.

Her father was also a severe diabetic, and eventually had to have a kidney transplant as well. His lasted 13 years before he died, when she was 16 years old

And now her new kidney is failing her – something she didn't want to admit.

"They don't know why I'm losing my kidney. I was put back on dialysis in April, and I have to go three days a week. It takes a day to recover," she said. "I was sick and I tried to work for about a year before I just couldn't do it anymore. I knew what was wrong. I knew I was losing my kidney. But I kept it between me and my doctor. I didn't tell anyone else because I kept hoping it would get better." Her kidney is operating at about 4 percent.

Of the dialysis she must undergo, Williams describes it as being "like a man doing hard labor for 12 hours."

"It makes me sick and nauseated. And the tiredness you get…" she said.

But even so, she's thankful that she's doing as well as she is.

"When I get on my pity party roll, I try to remember there's always somebody that's worse than me," she said.

Williams is thankful for those who are organizing the event.

"I don't even know how to thank all the people who are doing this fundraiser. I have the best family and friends that I could ever ask for," she said, adding that she wants the community to remember those who are on dialysis in their prayers.

As for being an organ donor, Williams says it's something everyone should consider.

"If you could be an organ donor, and it saves someone's life, you have given them a second chance at life," she said, tearing up. "That's the best thing you could do."

 

To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.

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20140726 John Gamble.JPG

John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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