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Taste of Baltimore to benefit local efforts of Kidney Foundation

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***NKF has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the need to take appropriate precautions to protect those most at risk. As a result, 2020 Santé– A Taste of Baltimore is postponed. The Foundation is working to secure a date and will share that as soon as it is finalized. It will honor all sponsorships and registrations at the rescheduled event.****

More than 2,700 Marylanders are waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant

If you’re looking for a tasty time while helping out a great cause, Santé: A Taste of Baltimore is happening on Thursday, Mar. 12, which also happens to be World Kidney Day!

This annual event hosted by the National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware (NKFMDDE) will feature more than 20 of the area’s premier restaurants, caterers and vendors at the American Visionary Art Museum in Downtown Baltimore.

Event proceeds will help support the foundation’s patient services, education and research efforts, such as NKFMDDE’s local patient emergency assistance program, providing essentials such as transportation, rent/utility relief, food and other life essentials.

Dollars raised also help fund vital research from the top nephrologists at Johns Hopkins Medicine and University of Maryland Medical Center.

Adding to the fun will be celebrity judges and the People’s Choice competition, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia, dining, entertainment, local art, spa, health and fitness, and vacation packages. Baltimore sports anchor Keith Mills will serve as emcee.

“Santé is a delicious and fun night out that supports families affected by a major health crisis in our community,” said event chair Sumeska Thavarajah, MD, assistant professor of medicine – Division of Nephrology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and chair of KFMDDE’s Medical Advisory Board.

“More than 2,700 Marylanders are waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant and 9,300 Marylanders are on dialysis. Make a difference in their lives by supporting us at Santé.”

NKFMDDE wants to change these odds. Every adult in the U.S. needs to know their risk and can find out with a simple, one-minute online quiz at

The five risk factors for kidney disease include high blood pressures, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and family history of kidney disease.

“We have a public health crisis that needs to be addressed by all Americans,” said NKMDDE Executive Director Pattie Dash.

“We will never give up trying to find ways to reach people, slow or stop the progression of this disease and lessen the burden for patients. Early testing and interventions are the key to do that.”

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease — and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.

People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are three times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).

Life-threatening kidney disease can strike anyone, young or old, and has many causes, but early intervention can make a difference. Lifestyle changes and a healthy diet can sometimes slow the progression of the disease when caught in the early stages, and sometimes can stop kidney failure.

Paul Rufe, who is an active volunteer in the Essex and Middle River communities, was diagnosed with kidney disease four years ago, and he has been on the kidney transplant registry at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute for about 16 months. He is currently on home dialysis while he awaits a new kidney.

“All my life I have worked hard as a volunteer helping others, and now it is really hard for me to ask for help myself, but I am in desperate need of a kidney,” said Rufe.

“Being an active volunteer with the Eastern Regional Lions Club, the Guardian Angels the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River and the Essex Day Festival Committee is what really keeps me going during this difficult time in my life.”

Rufe, 54, owns his own maintenance and construction business, and some days he is unable to work because he needs to be on dialysis or he simply has no energy. He relies on his son and another employee to assist him with projects.

“Sometimes getting up and ready to start the day is enough to wear me out,” he said.

“With having a catheter and Hemo port, I am under doctor’s orders of no lifting over ten pounds, no pushing, no pulling, no reaching or stretching. With these restrictions, I am not able to continue doing the line of work that I had built my business on.”

Rufe said that people have been tested to donate a kidney, but no one has been a match just yet. He will continue home dialysis until transplant day comes.

“Life is really challenging without functioning kidneys. I want to get back to being able to live my life again and not just survive by being hooked up to a machine every day,” he said.

“I want to be able to get back to doing what I love, helping others.” To learn more about Paul’s story, you can visit

Santé: A Taste of Baltimore

To Benefit National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware (NKFMDDE)

Thursday, March 12 from 6 to 9 p.m.

American Visionary Art Museum

800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230

Admission to Santé is $100 per person.

For more information, visit or call 410.494.8545.

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