Christmas celebrations came early for Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community dialysis patients, who, with their loved ones, gathered together on December 11 for a night of food, fun, games and inspiration at the Round House Café.
Christmas decorations lit up the usually reserved eatery, creating the perfect venue for dialysis patients and staff. The festivities began with a blessing by SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr., in which he recited a story called “A Fragile Gift” and recognized not only the patients, but their caregivers as well.
The emcee for the evening was SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier, who provided plenty of laughs as the program moved along with dinner, games, entertainment and raffle drawings.
The annual party was a chance for patients to come together to share stories and reflect on the year. It is organized by Dialysis Center staff and volunteers, who began planning in early November. The Dialysis Center is a resource that helps those in the Community who suffer from kidney failure. Some patients are also on the transplant list awaiting an organ. The event was also a chance to remember those who have passed. Staff asked guests for a moment of silence, given in their honor.
The evening’s entertainment included Melanie Miles, a dancer from District 4 of the Gila River Indian Community, and the SRPMIC Employee Choir, which sang several songs as guests settled in and enjoyed refreshments. Guests also got the opportunity to play some games, which included “Pass the Parcel” and bingo.
Guests were also treated to impromptu song by Burleigh Enas, who performed “Silent Night” in American Sign Language. Prior to the event, Enas was unsure if he even wanted to attend. With encouragement from his sister, he not only attended, but performed as well.
“Burleigh just shared something, not only with his family but with us, that didn’t cost anything. It was beautiful and it is something we’ll always remember,” said Harvier.
Tony Ringlero was asked to give a blessing to those at the event. He also shared the inspiring story, which began in 1994, of his health journey throughout the years. He spoke about facing his own mortality and the struggles he went through, both personally and spiritually, and everything that he was able to accomplish, including his education, since his journey began. Ringlero said, “I look back at my years … my time is not over, and I still feel like I have a lot more to offer.”
Other guests came forward to give updates on their loved ones or relay messages from those who could not attend.
The evening ended with bingo and a special guest appearance from none other than Kris Kringle himself. Santa Claus delighted guests as he handed out candy and posed for pictures.
Acknowledgments were given to the SRPMIC Council, volunteers, the Dialysis Christmas Party Committee, “Santa” Baltazar Solis, Round House Café staff, the van drivers, entertainers, day laborers and those who donated.
For more information on the Dialysis Center, please call (480) 362-1044.