For 16 years, metal fabricator Tony Rupp put other people’s lives in the forefront as a member of Shuswap Search and Rescue.
As well as going out in all kinds of weather on hundreds of calls, Rupp, an expert tracker, was a search manager and taught other SAR members a variety of skills, including tracking.
Now Rupp needs a helping hand.
Three days a week, Rupp, who was born with polycystic disease, travels to Vernon for four hours of dialysis.
He has always known the day would come when he needed a new kidney. That day has arrived and one of his employees at Rupp Metalworks has stepped up to give him one of his.
“Last November, we started the process of setting up for a kidney transplant with a lot of tests,” says Rupp, noting his 43-year-old donor does not wish to be identified. “There were more tests and now everything is figured out.”
Surgery is set for September and Rupp will have to stay in Vancouver for about three months.
Rupp, who left SAR because he was letting his own business slide, may have to close up shop.
The stay in Vancouver could end up costing Rupp and his donor about $60,000, says Samson Soaps owner Ken Davison, who is hosting a fundraising event to support the two men on Sunday and Monday at the store at 295 Fifth St. SW, across from Centenoka Park Mall.
The event will include a barbecue, refreshments, music, prize draws, silent auction, a flea market and entertainment.
Davison says a Go Fund Me account at http://www.gofundme.com/TonyNeedsKidney has brought in more than $9,200, and he is “trying to sweeten the pot.”
He says many local businesses have responded well to the plea for help and others are welcome to get onboard.
To donate to the silent auction, prize draws, book a table for the flea market or to volunteer, call Ken at 250 833-6741, or Gale-Paule at 250-803-2217.
Grateful but a bit embarrassed about the attention and fundraising, the humble Rupp says, “There’s tons of other people who are probably worse than me.”
The two-day fundraiser runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 and Monday, Aug. 3.