Meet Deborah (Debbie) Ikirt of Information Innovators and this year’s Kidney Ball Chairperson. The Ball, to be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on November 17, will feature a performance by Don Felder, a former lead guitarist of the Eagles and Grammy award winner, in addition to a reception, live and silent auctions.
Ikirt talks to WashingtonExec about her role in planning the annual black tie event and what made her get involved: her young son’s rare kidney disease. Read our interview with Ikirt as she talks about his health scare, joining the Kidney Foundation, her goal to raise over a million dollars, and why the Ball is a great place to promote awareness.
WashingtonExec: What made you take a leadership role with the Kidney Ball and your history being involved with the organization?
Deborah Ikirt: Due to a life-changing experience of our son’s illness, a very rare kidney disease called A-Typical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (A-Typical HUS) that was followed by multi-system complications, we became aware of the great work the National Kidney Foundation provides. We have committed our support in helping them in their mission. Our son, Mason, has made a miraculous recovery requiring minimal medication to aid in the filtration process of his kidneys. We are so fortunate for Mason’s recovery, but unfortunately there are many others who are not so lucky. Many people in our community depend on the research and programs the NKF provide for their medications, transplantation, education and so much more. As I administer Mason’s medication, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank the NKF for their tremendous work.
A large reason I became involved in the NKF is because of our son’s illness. Then, the more I learned of how committed this organization is to helping the community, and where they invest their dollars, I made the decision to become even more commitment and joined the Board of Directors in 2010. This year I took on yet another role, as the Vice Chairman of Development on the Board of Directors. This is one organization I am very proud to being a part of.
WashingtonExec: How much money do you expect to raise this year?
Deborah Ikirt: We are hoping to raise over a Million dollars.
WashingtonExec: Are you on track to meet that goal?
Deborah Ikirt: We are slightly behind this year. It is critical to continue the push for more donations. Every dollar counts and we welcome any and all forms of donation. Without the monetary support many lives will be negatively impacted today and in the future. I urge the readers to please log into www.kidneywdc.org and click on the Kidney Ball to sponsor or purchase tickets today. Many lives depend on your support and donations.
WashingtonExec: A lot of businesses have a lot of different options for giving back to the community? Why do you think the Kidney Ball should be on their list?
Deborah Ikirt: For every dollar the National Kidney Foundation raises, .83 cents goes into research and special programs. This far exceeds industry standards by over 75%. This is an organization that with out a doubt helps the community we live in, I can personally attest to that! Given the fact that the Washington DC area leads the nation in kidney disease, this organization touches your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors almost everyday, guaranteed. The NKF maximizes your contribution dollars and touches the community you live in today, and will continue to.
WashingtonExec: What is your favorite part about the event itself? What is new about this year’s Kidney Ball than years past?
Deborah Ikirt: This event year after year is such a spectacular night; from the moment you enter to the last song of the evening. There is excitement every minute, from the auction to the entertainment. Every aspect of this night is special and so important to the community. It is a great way to start the holiday season!
This year the event will be held at the Washington Omni Shoreham and our featured entertainment is “The Eagles” with Don Felder. We will also be honoring Michael M. Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Pay special honors to Tony Englards—national kidney foundation president for 31 years. Tremendous work for 31 years.
WashingtonExec: What do you believe the underlying message of the Kidney Ball?
Deborah Ikirt: The National Kidney Foundations mission is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by this terrible disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. The Washington Metropolitan area leads the nation in kidney disease with over 700,000 people with kidney disease, approximately 6,000 are on dialysis, and close to 1,600 are awaiting a life-saving kidney transplant.
WashingtonExec: Where can people go to learn more about the event or sign up?
Deborah Ikirt: Please visit our event page here.