Kidney Challenge Walk to honor Audrey Heath

JAMESTOWN – The Southern Tier Kidney Association has announced the details for its 5th annual Kidney Challenge Walk. This fundraising walk will take place on June 15 (registration at noon, 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.

This year’s event will pay special tribute to Audrey Heath, a longtime friend of the STKA who passed away in 2013. Heath was instrumental in the formation of the original Kidney Challenge Walk. Along with her husband, Lewis, she was a dedicated and active STKA volunteer (baking pies for the walk, creating favors for the Christmas party, etc.), despite limiting kidney-related health issues. The STKA will honor her generosity and her dedication to improving the lives of those who battle kidney disease.

“Audrey was a kidney transplant recipient and a dialysis patient before she was called home,” said Sam Pellerito, president of the STKA. “More importantly, Audrey was a woman of courage, perseverance, and love, always looking upward, never looking inward, and dedicated to serving others. She was a blessing to her family, her community, and to the Southern Tier Kidney Association.”

In addition to the walk which begins at 1 p.m., this special event will include a tribute butterfly release (12:45 p.m.), music, picnic lunch, and a basket raffle. The goal of this year’s walk is to raise $15,000 to support the mission of the STKA by enhancing the lives of kidney patients (including those on dialysis), by supporting living kidney donors, and by growing the Richie Leeper Memorial Fund, an endowment fund begun with proceeds from last year’s walk for the benefit of the STKA through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

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.

For more information about the Kidney Challenge Walk, contact Sam Pellerito (485-3901, or Mitch Stone (338-642,