SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Over $20,000 raised for the Sara Schroeder Fund
By Marie L. Monyak


December 08, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - If there are eight million stories in the naked city, then surely there were eight stories in Ketchikan on Tuesday night, December 6th, the night of the Sara Schroeder Fund Raiser at the Moose Lodge.

jpf Sara Schroeder

Sara Schroeder
Photograph courtesy Kim Kirby

I.  Fundraiser
There was standing room only at the Moose Lodge the night of the fundraiser as people showed up to show their support for Schroeder, the young 19 year old woman who has touched so many lives in Ketchikan.

The fundraiser organized and coordinated by Wendy Walden and Angela Salazar, to benefit Schroeder, was an outstanding success.  Friends of Schroeder, and many of her coworkers from Taquan Air, volunteered their time and effort to ensure a lucrative event.  There were many volunteers that refused to give their names, preferring to remain anonymous, determined to keep the focus on Schroeder.

The Moose Lodge donated the use of their facility for the evening.  Taquan Air, Food Services of America, Cruise Line Agencies, Raven's Brew and the Kayhi Culinary Arts class donated everything from the main course and salad, to coffee and homemade bread.  Linnie Effenberger and Debbie Hoyt worked feverishly in the kitchen to prepare dinner while countless volunteers worked their way through the maze of people to serve everyone in attendance.  More volunteers materialized to clear the plates in preparation of the live auction, while others were totaling the contributions from the dinner which came to more than $4000.

II.  Critical Care, Inc and Guardian Flight
Jason Harris, Michele Faust and Jason Cerovac, members of Guardian Flight, were on hand to present certificates for free membership to Critical Care, Inc, to Sara Schroeder and Kim Kirby.

jpg Critical Care membership

From left to right: Michele Faust, Kim Kirby, Cathryn Schroeder, Jason Harris. 
Guardian Flight presented the membership certificate for Critical Care, Inc to Kim Kirby  and Sara Schroeder.  (Faust and Harris are staff of Guardian Flight.)  
Photograph by Jason Cerovac, of Guardian Flight, Inc.

Critical Care, Inc is a working partner of Guardian Flight.  If Schroeder or Kirby should require a medevac by Guardian Flight, they will not be billed beyond what their insurance pays. If there is no insurance, the member will not be billed at all.

Accepting the certificate on behalf of Schroeder was her grandmother, Cathryn Schroeder.
 III.  Kim Kirby
Owner of Southeast Sea Kayaks, live kidney donor, former employer and best friend extraordinaire, all describe Kim Kirby and her relationship to Schroeder.  Wearing a sweatshirt given her by the transplant team in Washington, Kirby points out the simple embroidered message on the front; Got 2 Give 1  I'm a Living Kidney Donor.  Throughout the evening, Kirby could be heard repeatedly saying; "Got two, give one".  It has become her mantra; got two, give one, got two, give one.  

When the time came for Kirby to say a few words, she came up to the microphone, with obvious determination to hold back her emotions, and informed all who were gathered, about Schroeder's recent setback.  The hush that fell over the crowd was palpable.  She went on to thank everyone on behalf of Sara, the Schroeder family and herself.   It was apparent that she was trying to find the precise words to convey the deep feeling of gratitude she has toward everyone in Ketchikan and Metlakatla, for the kindness and generosity that has been bestowed upon her and the Schroeder's.

When finished, Kirby asked everyone to rise as she turned the microphone over to Shauna Lee, who holding back her own emotions,  gave a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

IV.  Sara Schroeder
On Friday, December 2nd, exactly one month after her kidney transplant surgery, Schroeder underwent a second procedure.  She had suffered from a rare complication; the transplanted kidney was not fitting properly in her body and needed to be moved.  Her surgeon, who has reportedly performed over 150 kidney transplants, has only had this condition arise twice before.

This is Schroeder's second operation, lasting six hours during which her new kidney had to be removed and repositioned.  Naturally, Schroeder's return to Ketchikan will now be expected sometime in February, instead of January, as earlier reported. 

 V.  Auctions
During dinner, everyone had the opportunity to peruse the many items generously donated by merchants, businesses and individuals.  Attendees were furiously writing down their bids on the silent auction items.  There were numerous treasures to be acquired by anxious bidders; jewelry, art work, flight seeing, gift baskets and much more.   Once everyone was fed, their appetites satisfied, the live auction got underway.

jpg auction

Dan Kelly filled the position of auctioneer...
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Shannon Kelly conducted the auction and kept up the pace, while her husband Dan Kelly filled the position of auctioneer, seldom pausing even for refreshment.  Excited bidders eagerly made offers on coveted merchandise.  Numerous tools, a bicycle, a two night stay at Yes Bay, and countless wonderful gifts were won by lucky bidders.  Kathy Graham, Margie Sweetman, Danita Scott and several more volunteers moved through the crowd, showcasing items and collecting money.  A beautiful hand stitched quilt, crafted by Schroeder's grandmother, Cathryn Schroeder, fetched over $600. An acupressure massage was won for $300.  A case of wine was acquired for $500.  Chocolate, coconut, strawberry and various fruit pies, donated by Dockside Diner, went for unheard of amounts, some as high as $175.  Over sixty items were won in the live auction and many more through bidding on the silent auction.   To the amazement of all involved, the cumulative total of both auctions netted approximately $16,000!
VI. The Thousand Dollar Christmas Tree Skirt
This past weekend Kim Kirby amazed attendees at the Enchanted Forest Dinner and Auction by wearing an embellished Christmas tree skirt in place of the usual evening attire.  When all the decorated trees had been sold to the highest bidders, the master-of-ceremonies introduced Kirby and explained to the audience that a tree simply would not be complete without a beautiful tree skirt adorning its base.  Things began to get interesting when the master-of-ceremonies began to auction the very skirt that Kirby was wearing.  Their idea turned out to be very profitable indeed, when the sum collected for the "skirt" totaled $700 for the Sara Schroeder Fund!  The winning bidder, Ed Schofield, re-donated the "skirt" to the December 6th fundraiser. 

jpg $1,000 Christmas tree skirt

Kim Kirby and the $1,000 Christmas Tree Skirt
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

During the live auction on Tuesday evening, Kirby once again donned the Christmas tree skirt, climbed on a chair, and related to the audience the tale of the $700 "skirt".  When finished with the telling, she showed off her skirt by twirling and sashaying and then proceeded to auction the "skirt" once again, this time collecting $300.  To date, the beautiful, embellished Christmas tree skirt has earned $1000 for Schroeder!   If anyone would like to make it a $2000 "skirt", feel free to contact Kirby at Southeast Sea Kayaks.
VII.  Her Second Family
Since Sara Schroeder's illness, the people at Taquan Air where Schroeder worked this past summer as a ticket agent have become very much like a second family.  Schroeder is everyone's favorite sister or daughter.  This was evident at the fundraiser on Tuesday as many of the volunteers were from Taquan Air.  And it would have been impossible to miss the large group of Taquan employees gathered around a table in the middle of the room during the live auction.  Digging deeper and deeper in their pockets, oftentimes bidding far more than the retail cost of an item, they demonstrated their generosity and feelings for one of their own.

jpg Family

Sara Schroeder's sister Lily, Grandmother Cathryn and Kim Kirby...
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

VIII.  "We really are loved, aren't we?"
Tuesday night's fundraiser brought in an astounding amount, over $20,000 for the Sara Schroeder Fund.  The generosity of the communities of Ketchikan and Metlakatla will likely never be forgotten by Sara, her mother Amy, sister Lily, grandmother Cathryn and Kim.

Not long ago, when Kirby was at the University of Washington Medical Center with Schroeder, the two were just chatting, as women often do.  Kirby said; "I was just telling Sara about the tremendous generosity and kindness from all the people in Ketchikan and Metlakatla, I was mentioning the donations, the phone calls, care packages,  even the hot meals delivered to my front door by well wishers," when Sara asked; "We really are loved, aren't we?"

To Contribute:

Anyone who would like to make a donation may do so by making a deposit by mail or in person at:

Key Bank - Sara Schroeder Fund
2501 Tongass Ave
Ketchikan AK 99901

Donations are also being accepted at the Taquan Air office on Water Street.


Related story:

A Gift of Life By Marie L Monyak...
SitNews - December 02, 2005

 Marie Monyak is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Marie at

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