Kidney Challenge Walk to honor Richie Leeper

JAMESTOWN – The Southern Tier Kidney Association has announced the details for its 2013 Kidney Challenge Walk. This fundraising walk will take place Sunday (registration at noon and Walk at 1 p.m.) from the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center which will also serve as the starting and finishing point for the walk.

Last year, Jamestown lost one of its most beloved residents in Richie Leeper who was a longtime dialysis patient at WCA Hospital, outstanding musician, and whose band played at the walk each year. This year’s event will pay special tribute to Leeper, a longtime friend of the STKA, by being named the Richie Leeper Memorial STKA Kidney Challenge Walk.

The STKA has set a goal to raise $10,000 at this year’s event as proceeds to enable the creation of the Richie Leeper Memorial Fund, an endowment fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for the benefit of the Southern Tier Kidney Association.

“Richie was one of a kind,” said Sam Pellerito, President of the STKA. “I was always touched very deeply when he would give a musical tribute to the dialysis nursing staff each year at the walk because he was so appreciative of the care that he received. They shared a unique bond and a special kind of love.”

The STKA also announced that the 4th annual Kidney Challenge Walk is being presented again this year by corporate sponsors Artone and DaVita. The event will feature live music, a post-walk cookout, and basket auction. At 12:45 p.m., tribute butterflies will be released In Memory of or In Honor of those who have been impacted by chronic kidney disease.

There are many opportunities to participate in this charity event. The STKA would like to encourage individuals, families, co-workers, and friends to register to walk, form a team, make a tax-deductible gift, or sponsor a tribute butterfly online through Individuals and businesses are also being asked to consider donating items for the basket auction.

“We are so excited about this year’s Kidney Challenge Walk and the opportunity to endow this fund in Richie’s honor,” said Jeanette Ostrom, Chair of the 2013 STKA Kidney Challenge Walk. “We encourage families to join us as we raise awareness for chronic kidney disease and raise some money for a very important local cause.”

For more information, call Jeanette at 450-8958 or e-mail