Charmagne Henry witnesses the grind dialysis patients endure.
It is something her mother, father and late sister have been subjected to. When the East Wallace Avenue resident takes her mother Gwendolyn Allen to Fresenius Kidney Care on Wilmington Road for treatment, Henry observes the other victims of kidney disease.
“I just watch and listen,” she said. “They come in and they’re struggling.
“Half of them don’t want to be there.”
Henry sought to break the pattern of despair, so she threw them a picnic.
“They need an escape from this place,” she said. “They a place to relax. They need a break.”
Henry organized a picnic July 14 at Neshannock Township’s Pearson Park. More than 100 patients, patients’ families and Fresenius’ staff attended.
Donations came in from Olive Garden; The Crane Room Grille; The New Englander; Wendy’s; Living Treasures; Medure’s Catering; Forbush’s; Giant Eagle; and Taco Bell. ACTS transported participants to the park.
The event also featured a band, raffles and face painting.
“I knew that I was going to make more than enough food,” Henry said.
Fresenius’ patient care technician, Kelsie Sokoloski, remarked that the event was well received.
“It was very nice for her to do something for the patients,” she said. “It was something fun for them.
“They enjoyed it. They’re looking forward to the next one.”
Henry called the outcome wonderful.
“I just wanted to cry,” she said. “It was touching for me. They needed that.
“They were interacting with each other. They were eating and they were dancing.”
Henry is already thinking about the next picnic.
“I’m going to do this every year,” she said. “I see the need. I’m just running with it.
“It was a blessing. I look forward to next year being bigger and better.”