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Family of man who needs new kidney work hard to raise money for dialysis.

Byline: Bill Fortier

COLUMN: SOUTH COUNTY NOTEBOOK

Just following up on a few items while waiting for the next severe thunderstorm to pummel South County Notebook land.

We begin with the latest on Auburn resident Eric P. Walker and his search for a new kidney and the results of a fundraising event July 20 in the parking lot of Halligan's on Route 20 that included the effort to heighten awareness of kidney disease and the process for obtaining a kidney transplant.

Eric's wife, Christine, said about $5,000 had been raised as of last week from various events to help defray the family's medical costs relating to Eric's dialysis, and treatment for his diabetes and heart condition. Mrs. Walker also said people who think they might be able and eligible to donate a kidney to the 32-year-old Mr. Walker can call the organ transplant center at UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus in Worcester at (508) 856-6202. Mr. Walker has Type A blood, which means people with that blood type or Type O blood are potential kidney donors.

Mrs. Walker, 28, said recent tests showed her husband's kidneys are operating at 7 percent efficiency, which means the father of three really is in desperate need of a healthy kidney. More information on Mr. Walker, including the latest updates on his medical condition, can be obtained at saveericwalker.org. Donations on his behalf can be made at Saver's Bank, 38 South St., Auburn, MA 01501. Checks can be made to Save Eric Walker.

Mrs. Walker said she was gratified to see more than 100 people attend the July 20 event at Halligan's, but recent days have seen nonstop visits to various doctors and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

"He's doing OK," Mrs.Walker said of her husband. "And I'm doing OK."

The tiredness of Mrs. Walker's voice leads this typist to believe she and her husband are doing the best they can to tackle an increasingly difficult situation.

Selectman William M. Gribbons and School Committee Chairman Elizabeth A. Gribbons have started work on the ninth year of the First Day Program, which provides back-to-school clothing and school supplies to the neediest children in town. Over the past eight years, well over 300 children in town have benefited from the generosity of the people in town, Mr. Gribbons said in a press release.

"We anticipate that 45 children, a record number for the program, will require our assistance this fall. With the help of individuals, church groups, civic organizations, and local businesses we will once again meet this challenge," Mr. Gribbons, sounding a bit like Knute Rockne, said.

As we all know, these are tough times, and it's probably safe to say that the way fuel prices are going parkas, not pajamas, are going to be the clothing of choice this winter for many people. So, really, it is important that people do what they can to help. Mr. and Mrs. Gribbons will work with Auburn Youth and Family Services, as well as the principals of the schools, to distribute the items to schoolchildren.

Among the items that are needed are gift certificates to Old Navy and Payless shoes, as well as backpacks, 1-1/2-inch ring binders and various other school supplies, such as pens, pencils, lined notebooks, 3-inch-by-5-inch index cards, five-subject dividers for notebooks, calculators and dictionaries.

Anybody who wants to make a donation is asked to make the check payable to Auburn Youth and Family Services Inc., 21 Pheasant Court, Auburn, MA 01501, and note First Day Program on the memo line. The Gribbons also are asking that people who want to buy specific items call them at (508) 832-9879 so they can better manage the supply inventory. They ask that checks be mailed to and supplies be dropped off at their home at 7 Sunnyside Road, Auburn, MA 01501.

Meanwhile, about 90 golfers made it back to the clubhouse at town-owned Pakachoag Golf Course in Auburn before the thunderstorms struck Aug. 2, Auburn Town Clerk Ellen C. Gaboury said the other day.

About $4,000 was raised at the 28th annual Auburn Community Assistance Fund golf event, Mrs. Gaboury said. She administers the fund, which helps town residents who need help with their heating bills.

Mrs. Gaboury said the turnout and amount raised was a little more than last year.

It's no secret that many people in town are upset over the long battle with Johnson Golf Management Inc. of Weston concerning

the management of the course, and it's also no secret that attendance at the event has declined in recent years, partially because of that.

Mrs. Gaboury, however, stressed that Johnson representatives worked hard to provide as much help as possible during the event. She said she thought more people might have teed off if the forecast for Aug. 2 had been less threatening.

Mrs. Gaboury also credited former golf course operator and Pakachoag Oversight Committee member Dick Cote, former Auburn Selectman Dan Boyle and retired Auburn Police Officer Charles MacMillan with their work on the course during the event.

"They're my core group on the course, they made everything work," she said.

Plans are under way for next year's event, which is scheduled for Aug. 1. Mrs. Gaboury said she has been talking with Department of Recreation and Culture Director Kristen M. Pappas about making it more of a townwide event.

Finally, we recently stopped by to see Cliff Granger, who lives on Prospect Street in Auburn, to check out his vast and varied garden.

Cliff, 93, is out there every day checking on his tomatoes, corn, beans and other vegetation. Unlike yours truly, he plants his items on a staggered basis, which means, also unlike yours truly, he harvests them at different times.

Unlike many gardeners this space talks to, Mr. Granger is not a big fan of this summer's abnormally wet weather. For example, he said the green beans he planted in May simply rotted in the ground.

"It's been too wet," he said.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 11, 2008
Words:999
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