Society: Kidney Ball travels to ‘Casablanca’

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News

Guests at this year’s National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s Kidney Ball on Saturday found themselves in a Marketplace near Rick’s Café Américain from the iconic film “Casablanca.” The 13th annual Kidney Ball, held at MotorCity Casino Hotel, began with a cocktail hour in the Marketplace, featuring an open bar, appetizers and champagne cocktails. Also during the cocktail hour, guests perused several hallways of more than 250 eclectic silent auction items, including the popular Kids Auction Toy Room.

There was a duo dinner entree of salmon and short ribs, followed by a short program and an exciting live auction. After the auction, there was dancing to Your Generation in Concert featuring Fifty Amp Fuse in the Sound Board. The evening ended with a sweet finish – a delectable candy “bar”.

There were more than 600 in attendance. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan expects to have raised $600,000 for its many community programs and services.

“Our community has been so supportive over the years,” said Linda Smith-Wheelock, president and CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. “We use the funds raised at the Kidney Ball to educate and assist the nearly 1 million people in Michigan with chronic kidney disease. The funds are also used for lifestyle and health improvement programs that can help to prevent 70 percent of new cases of kidney disease.”

The 2017 Kidney Ball Honorary co-chairs are Duane McLean, executive vice president, Detroit Tigers; and Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet. The Kidney Ball co-chairs are Jon Krebs, president of Madison Heights Glass Co. Inc.; and Jeff Chandler, executive vice president – Surety, VTC Insurance Group. Tickets were $250 per person.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of, hosts “Chuck’s Closet” Saturdays from 4-5 p.m. on 910AM Superstation and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.