Ishrat Kahn

Kidney patient Ishrat Kahn tries on a blue prom dress. (Courtesy of Renal Support Network / January 4, 2014)

A gently used dress in the back of a closet could make a young woman’s evening special later this month as the Renal Support Network prepares for its 15th annual Renal Teen Prom for young kidney-disease survivors and their guests.

The organization is accepting donated dresses and accessories until Saturday at the Polish Bar, 367 N. Chevy Chase Drive in Glendale from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Several young women who will be attending the prom will be trying on dresses beginning on Friday, said Lori Hartwell, president and founder of the Glendale-based organization who was on dialysis from age 12 to 24 and has had four kidney transplants.

Hartwell said most of the young women who take part in the dress program come from families who don’t have much money.

“They come on buses,” she said. “They’ve never had a change to feel this pretty and glamorous.”

She added that the young women also get to interact with her and see that she’s married, has children and works.

“I think they start to see the future,” she said.

The event, to be held on Jan. 19, was inspired by Hartwell, who missed her prom because of kidney disease. It brings together teens from all over Southern California as well as from other states.

It also lets young kidney-disease survivors see their peers in a different light.

“When you’re on dialysis, you don’t dress up,” Hartwell said.

The theme for this year’s event is “An Evening Among the Stars,” and it will be held for the first time at the Glendale Hilton, having previously been held at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.

“Glendale’s been so good to me,” Hartwell said, adding that holding the event at the Hilton shows support for the business community in the city.

Teen volunteers from Notre Dame High School will still help with the prom and the activities leading up to it.

“Notre Dame brings the cool factor,” Hartwell said because teens with kidney disease get to hang out with other teens who treat them as contemporaries.

There is no charge to prom attendees or their guests.

The Renal Support Network held a successful celebrity poker fundraiser last year at the Glendale YWCA, where $20,000 was raised.

Among the celebrities playing in the poker tournament were actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass, of comedy rock duo Tenacious D, as well as actors Quinton Aaron, co-star of the movie “The Blind Side,” and Sid Veda, who appeared in the TV series “Bloomers.”

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Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.


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