The Chesterton High School’s Class of 1981’s upcoming 30-year reunion will
be more than the typical camaraderie among old classmates: The reunion will
include a fundraising component to help defray medical costs for a classmate
and her family.
Former CHS classmate Julie (Ruesch) Parent is scheduled to donate one of her
kidneys on August 15 to her cousin, Gwen Blandford.
In August 2006, Blandford suffered a brain aneurysm at the age of 46. It was
discovered at that time that the aneurysm was a result of Polycystic Kidney
Disease (PKD), an inherited disorder in which clusters of noncancerous,
fluid-filled cysts develop within the kidneys.
Blandford has been receiving dialysis treatments three times a week. After
failed attempts to find a suitable donor match from her immediate family,
she finally conceded to allow her cousin to be tested. The tests confirmed
that Parent was a suitable kidney donor match.
The reunion committee has decided to do the right thing on behalf of Parent
and her family and pay it forward.
Not only are both families facing numerous out-of-pocket medical expenses,
the anti-rejection medications required after the transplant are very
expensive. So, in response to their former classmate’s selfless generosity,
the committee is planning to combine the reunion with a fundraiser to help
offset the family’s medical expenses.
The reunion will be at the Sand Creek Country Club on Saturday, August 6
from 6 p.m. to midnight.
For the classmates who would like to attend the reunion but who have not yet
paid, the class will donate one-third of the cost of attending the reunion
from now until August 1 to the Blandford family.
Any funds donated over the $60 cost of attending the reunion and fundraiser
will be donated to the family.
Additionally, the class will host a silent auction fundraiser, with all
proceeds being donated to the family.
The public is invited to attend the fundraiser/reunion.
The Class of 1981 will donate one-half of the cost of attendance for
non-classmates who would like to come out and wish Blandford and Parent well
with their upcoming surgeries.
The $60 cost to attend includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner and DJ entertainment
at Sand Creek Country Club, as well as the opportunity to bid on the silent
auction items. A cash bar will be available. RSVPs are requested by August
For information, contact the reunion committee chairperson, Greg Keller, at
219-707-1752. Payments should be sent to: CHS Class of 1981 c/o Greg Keller,
903 N. Beechwood Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Make checks payable to CHS
Class of 1981.