Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 7, 2023

Hitting the dance floor for a good cause

Chattanooga Bar Association’s Hood raising funds for Kidney Foundation

Chattanooga Bar Association Executive Director Lynda Hood and her 2023 Dare to Dance dance partner, Joel Thomas. Hood is raising funds for the Kidney Foundation of the Greater Chattanooga Area’s transportation program. - Photograph provided

Lynda Hood has spent nearly three decades juggling countless events for the local bar association. Now Hood, the CBA’s executive director, is going to show all of Chattanooga she can dance, too.

The Kidney Foundation of the Greater Chattanooga Area has invited Hood to participate in its chic annual fundraiser, Dare to Dance. She and her dance partner, Joel Thomas, will hit the floor at the Chattanooga Convention Center Saturday, Oct. 28.

Hood is keeping her and Thomas’ routine and song hush-hush as she prepares to perform for three special people.

“First and foremost, I’ll be dancing for my mom, who was diagnosed with precancerous cysts on her kidneys. Second, I’ll be dancing in memory of the late John Higgason, a former member of the Chattanooga Bar Association.

“John endured dialysis three days a week for over 34 years with a positive attitude and humility – and without self-pity – all while maintaining an interest in others. I’ll also be dancing in honor of John’s wife, Connie, who donated one of her kidneys to extend his life.”

The local Kidney Foundation solicits monetary donations in advance of Dare to Dance through the fundraising efforts of its participants, as well as during the gala. The money allows the foundation to assist with patient services, education, community screenings and awareness within its geographical footprint.

Since launching in 1989, the foundation has applied all of the funds its raised to needs in the greater Chattanooga area, says Heather Melton, its executive director.

“We’ve been a fully local organization since Day One,” Melton says.

Hood will be raising funds for the Kidney Foundation’s Transportation Assistance Program, which offers patients monthly assistance grants with their transit to dialysis, transplant or other renal-related appointments.

“Dialysis patients go to their clinic typically three times per week, and sometimes they’re too tired or too weak to drive after treatment,” says Melton. “The transportation grants ensures they have safe, reliable transportation.”

The Kidney Foundation currently has 83 patients on transportation grants. These grants range from $25-$200 per month.

Budgeted at around $70,000 per year, the foundation’s transportation program is its most costly line item in patient services, adds Melton.

Hood, who says she’ll actually be dancing for everyone with kidney disease, is seeking gold and platinum sponsorships, as well as individual donations.

To inquire about a sponsorship, contact Hood at lhood@chattanoogabar.org; make an individual donation and share Hood’s campaign on Facebook and Twitter at pages.donately.com/thechattanoogakidneyfoundation/fundraiser/team-lynda-minks-hood-and-joel.

“Thank you for considering a donation and helping me to reach the goal the foundation has set for me,” Hood says.

While Hood is cheering on the fundraising efforts of her 11 fellow dancers, she smiles as she says she hopes Thomas will give her an edge under the ballroom lights.

Thomas has been a Dance Vision International Dancers Association certified instructor for more than a decade. He says he works with the Kidney Foundation because he believes in the work it does in the local community.

“I’m proud to be a part of something big that helps a lot of people,” Thomas says. “And what better way is there to raise money than dancing?”

Thomas adds that he’s also looking forward to working with Hood as they perfect their routine and then perform it before hundreds of dance fans this fall. “Lynda puts her heart into every move, which makes her an amazing partner,” he says.

From dancers, to dance instructors, to donors, Melton says the Kidney Foundation is grateful to every member of the community who participates in Dare to Dance year after year.

“Local dialysis and kidney transplant patients are fortunate to have a community that supports them in a big way. While we can’t wait to see Lynda on the dance floor, we’re even more excited for the lives she’ll change in our community.”

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