Nanaimo Halloween enthusiast in need of kidney transplant

NANAIMO – Family that raised money for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital through Halloween House now needs support.

Melanie and Keith Kirk, local celebrities as the creators of Halloween House on Townsite Road that for years entertained and terrified with haunting displays while raising money for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, now need help themselves.

Melanie, who has lived with and managed kidney disease from a young age, got word from her doctor just before Christmas the time had come for a kidney transplant. A donor has been found and surgery is scheduled for April 22.

The cost of surgery will be covered by the provincial health care plan, but associated costs are not.

The surgery will be performed at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Melanie will have to stay in Vancouver at least six weeks after the surgery in close proximity to the hospital for daily and weekly monitoring, so money will be needed to cover costs for lodging, food and transportation.

Money raised will also help cover costs for Keith, who has been on disability income and unable to work due to a heart condition, to visit Melanie during her stay.

To help out, friends and relatives of the Kirks are hosting Momma Needs a New Kidney, a fundraiser beer and burger/silent auction night at the Old City Station Pub at 150 Skinner St. Theme for the beer and burger fundraiser is Half Way to Halloween and guests are invited to dress up for a Halloween costume contest.

“Because they are so into Halloween, we are doing it as a costume party,” said Suzanne Sutherland, event organizer. “You don’t have to dress up, but people can.”

There is no target fundraising goal since the total cost of Melanie’s stay isn’t known.

“Whatever we make over it, we’re going to donate to the Kidney Foundation of Canada,” Sutherland said.  “She has to have a place to stay, food and transportation and none of that is covered.”

The event happens April 14, 4-7 p.m.

Admission, which buys burger and fries and beer or wine is $15. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Organizers are also looking for donations of goods or services for the silent auction. Donations are needed by April 7. To donate or participate in the fundraiser, please contact Sutherland at 250-758-7453 or Kathy Kirk-Hanson at 250-729-7808.