NKF of Utah & Idaho CEO and Boss Lady, Deen Vetterli

Deen Vetterli Conducts one of the first NKF of Utah Board Meetings, 1987

 

January 24th marks the birthday of Deen Vetterli, the Founder and CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho.  She single-handedly organized and laid the foundation for one of the  most respected and successful charity operations in the country today.  If you thought her amazing hair was big (in 1987, see photo), you should see her heart.  In honor of Ms. Vetterli’s birthday, we thought we’d reflect on her incredible achievements during 33 years of humanitarian service.  Ms. Vetterli’s sister Glenna Jones Shapiro (who was running the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona) called and suggested Deen take over the fledgling charter in Utah.  It had been organized into a small but passionate group of doctors, researchers, and others associated with the Division of Nephrology at the University of Utah and the Kolff Dialysis Center.  Fortunately for the fledgling organization, Deen had recently moved from Pasadena California and was struggling to shift gears from her successful career as a highly respected California Educator (and winner of The Valley Forge Freedom Award,  for writing American History Curriculum that is still used today in the Pasadena and California School Districts) to a ‘Utah woman.’  Deen came to Utah on the heels of many years as a Conservative Political Activist and Daughter of the American Revolution; and she was desperate for a real challenge in the Beehive State.  Deen soon learned from a family friend, Sentaor Orrin Hatch that the other sitting US Utah Senator,  Jake E. Garn , had recently given his kidney to his daughter Susan. Senator Garn had been Navy Pilot, a distinguished Mayor of Salt Lake City, and had recently flown around the earth a few times on a NASA space mission. Deen immediately recognized the position Senator Garn held in the community as one that would forever change Utah’s perception and knowledge of both kidney disease and living organ donation.  Ms. Vetterli set about creating The Gift of Life Gala, honoring Senator Garn’s “gift of life” to his daugther.  That was 1987.  She wrote hundreds (maybe a thousands) of letters and made calls from her bedroom office, with little or no assistance to pull off one of the most successful Gala events, not just in Utah, but in the country. She often laughs that the first letters were actually type-written on mimeograph paper for replication.  Sitting on the floor of her bedroom she spoke on the phone with the astronaut John Glenn and (then) President Ronald Regan’s offices asking for their support. No celebrity, politician or community leader was safe; and NO ONE dared say no.   Many of Utah’s highest ranking businessmen, have joked Deen Vetterli is a ‘Tiger-Lady’ and knew from experience that it was easier to do what she was asking, than to say ‘no.’  With that focus and drive, Deen put together a Board of Directors unlike any other in the United States. It is who’s who list of Governors, Senators, local celebrities, community leaders, Head Football coaches, and leading kidney doctors. The picture above was taken at one of those meetings; and as the viewer can see, she is a commanding presence in that space. She was a woman on a mission to save lives.

The Gala for Senator Garn was a smashing success, but she did not stop there. Other noteworthy Gift of Life Gala Honorees were: Senator Orrin Hatch, Dr. LaVell Edwards (Head Coach of BYU Football), Ed Garrison (CEO of the space program at Morton/Thiokol), Dr. Willem J. Kolff (creator of the dialysis machine), James (Jamie) Redford, and many others.  Not to be one to rest on her laurels,  Deen went on to create one of Utah’s  most well known, and beloved golf tournament traditions in the history of Utah.  She earned the support of the head football coaches of the University of Utah and the BYU (at the time, it was a bitter, blood thirsty rivalry between the two schools). The coaches “Rivalry For Charity Golf Tournament”  is still the highlight of the Charity Golf season, 31 years later. She has tirelessly sought support from the Utah public by instigating one of the country’s first ever ‘Cars for Charity’ programs and named it Kidney Kars — with a “K” like Kidney. Which, consequently, is when I came into the picture to witness and assist this tour de force of a woman.  Under Deen’s precise focus (and through her personal experience, as the daughter of the Jones Car Dealership Empire in Arizona) she created the Kidney Kars program.  To this day, Kidney Kars of Utah is one of the country’s most original, successful, and highly respected car-for-charity donation programs.  Kidney Kars donation income has sustained tens of thousands of Utah kidney patients, making tens of millions of dollars available to the mission of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho for: medical/financial patient aid, local medical research, the promotion of organ donation and kidney disease awareness.  She has worked in coalition with other organizations to promote oran donation.  Those Utahns, who unfortunate enough to live with kidney disease, have a great champion in Deen Vetterli. Her greatest treasure are the cards and small thank you letters from those who have been on the receiving end of the programs of the NKF of Utah & Idaho. She asks her staff to read them and contemplate the mission of the organization in order to do their best job on their behalf. Deen sometimes weeps reading the letters of gratitude from those who have attended the kidney camps (for transplanted children and of the families affected by kidney disease). Her gratitude to have meaningful work and her dedication to the success of her staff is a testament to her desire to serve this population. Her drive to help others is unparalleled.

As a young college graduate in 1991, I came to work for Deen at the NKF of Utah to help run the Kidney Kars program.  One day,  Deen called me into her office to relay that a close friend, serving as an Ambassador to Russia in Vladivostok, had called to ask if she would help a young Russian boy get treatment for kidney failure somewhere in Utah. She asked for my suggestions.  Instead, I asked “if we help this one young man, who else will we have to help? Where will it end?”  Deen simply looked at me, put her hand over mine and and asked “When someone asks you to help save someone’s life, and you have the power to do that– what would you do?  I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”  Deen’s certainty about saving one life, sank into my heart. As the saying goes “For whosoever saves a life, saves the world.”  In that moment, I decided I wanted to be on this woman’s team for as long as she’d let me stay.

What a debt of gratitude, we owe Deen Vetterli for putting her drive for success, and ability to teach and lead, for the service of our fellow Utahns (and now Idahoans) in need because of kidney disease. We live in a state where living donation is common, and where every single Utah citizen is willing to donate a car to Kidney Kars to share the burden of their friends and neighbors on dialysis or in need of a kidney transplant.

Happy Birthday to one of Utah’s most astonishing women, Deen Vetterli.

Who, I might add, is going to kill me if she ever reads this.

 

What about Motorhomes, Trailers, Boats or other recreational vehicles?

Does the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho accept Motorhomes, Trailers, Boats, wave runners or other recreational vehicles?

Yes! However….

We do NOT offer free towing for any vehicle other than passenger cars and trucks.

So yes, we can accept them if you’re willing to deliver your donation to a location in (North) Salt Lake City.

We do take motorhomes, trailers, boats, wave runners, snow machines, school buses, box trucks, cargo vans, cherry pickers, road pavers (and alot of other things). But these types of items must be delivered by the donor.

So, if you can deliver the recreational vehicle or equipment yourself, then go ahead and submit the donation to www.towKars.org and using the appropriate (car, boat, RV, or motorcycle) sections of the www.towKars.org website. If you check the box asking if you are willing to the donated item, it will allow you to continue the submission.
If you do NOT check the box acknowledging that will deliver the item, the website will NOT allow you to submit or continue the donation.

If you have questions about donating anything other than a car (and you believe the item to be valued at $1,000 or more) please call the National Kidney Foundation of Utah office for more details.

You can call 9-5/M-F (801) 226-5111 to discuss the details about donating a boat, motorhome, trailer, wave runner, snow machine, or any recreation vehicle or any other machinery.

 

Thank you!

 

How to get a tax deduction for donating your car to Kidney Kars

Getting a tax deduction for donating a car isn’t the only good reason to donate. Most folks just want to help others in need. But, also getting a tax deduction is still a nice bonus. It’s easy, and you don’t have to be rich to qualify. Donating a car is tax deductible for normal range income individuals.

When you donate to a qualified 501(C)(3)charity like Kidney Kars, you can itemize that donation on your IRS 1040 tax return. The generalized tax receipt will allow you to claim an itemized deduction for up to $499 –BUT if your car donation is sold for more than $500, you get to write off the car’s actual selling price!

In 2019 the standard deduction was doubled to $12,200 for an individual and $24,400 for a married couple.  While that means that some people might not itemize their taxes, anyone who owns a house valued around $339K will likely pay more in interest than the standard deduction allows – which means itemizing your taxes and donating a car could save you real $$$.  Given how Utah property values have gone through the roof in recent years, there’s a good chance it makes sense for most homeowners.  Additionally if you donate money to a church (which a lot of people in Utah do), those contributions make it even more likely that your accountant could recommend itemizing your taxes

Therefore, if you own a modestly priced home, you may want to add as many deductions as you can to reduce your taxable income.  Kidney Kars car donations and other charitable contributions, are a great way to lower your taxable income. It’s smart to check with your accountant to know exactly how donating your car will affect your taxes before you donate.

However, even if you don’t itemize your taxes, there’s a lot of great reasons for donating your car to a charity like Kidney Kars:

  1. You get rid of a car that’s been laying around
  2. We tow it away in 48 hours or less, so it’s no hassle for you.
  3. You feel good knowing you really helped people in need, and maybe even save a life.

So don’t think twice about donating your old car to an accredited, highly ranked charity. Just be  sure to do your research. Not to brag about how Kidney Kars is local, but we’re going to. Many charities who advertise online, take car donations for charities who are out of state, and the monies raised may not even benefit Utahns. Worse yet, sometimes those bigger charities pay 3rd party businesses to both advertise and manage their car donation. That means less money actually makes it to the charity and the people that really need it. But when you donate a car to Kidney Kars, you can be assured that your donation will benefit Utah kidney patients.

You can always call the Utah State Division of Consumer Protection to ask about the charity you intend to donate to.

So when you have an old car, would like it picked up in 48 hours or less, PLUS get a tax deduction donate to Kidney Kars at www.towKars.org!

Fastest Car Pick Up for Charity Car Donation in Utah

Charity car donation is popular for a couple of reasons. I’d say the biggest reason is, you have a broken car sitting in the driveway or garage that is taking up valuable space.  If that car’s repairs cost more than the value of the car, it’s a great time to consider donating. Once you’ve finally decided you’d rather donate that car to charity, than do anything else you probably want car gone like, yesterday.  The good news is, we’re happy to help.  In order to donate your car, first find the title! That’s the hardest part, we promise. Then call us 9-5/M-F at (801) 226-5111 or 1-800-tow-kars (1-800-869-5277); or easier yet at any time of day use our website www.towKars.org  The process to give us the information will take you 3-5 minutes. You answer the questions we need to both pickup the car, and get you a tax receipt. Once we have that, we get it to our towing guys, and the car is usually picked up in 24-48 hours (Unless you need more time to clean it out of personal belongings or need to coordinate pick up with a 3rd party like a mechanic, or storage unit manager). So, unless there’s a problem, you can expect pick up in less than a day or two.  The Monday following the car’s pickup, we will email you your tax receipt! Kidney Kars donation is simple, fast, free, and your donation benefits over 3,000 dialysis and transplant patients in our area. Thank you for donating to Kidney Kars of Utah!

Which charity car donation program in Utah and Idaho is best? How do car donations work?

Kidney Kars / www.towKars.org (The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho) has been taking kidney car donations in Utah and Idaho since 1991; and is one of the country’s best and most legitimate car donation programs. Utahns love their tax deductions and so Kidney Kars / www.towKars.org has remained the number one choice for charity car donation in Utah for 29 years! Yep! Little ol’ Utah runs one of the best and largest car donation program in the country. This is because 2/3 of Kidney Kars donors come from repeat kidney cars donors and word of mouth referrals from former donors. To us, this is the highest compliment and testament to the work we do in our own community. In addition to asking a friend or neighbor ‘what charity program is best’ for car donations, a lot of people Google “how does car donation work?” or “what car donation program in Utah is best?” So we get a lot of referrals from search engines as well.  But we’d like to give Utahns a word of warning about Googling the ‘best car donation program in Utah or Idaho.’  Unfortunately, since Kidney Kars of Utah started in 1991, a lot of national charities have also started their own car donation for charity programs. They take the money from our community and give it to a national branch. Unfortunately, very few of those national charity car donation programs you see advertised online (or who come up when Googled) are actually IN UTAH. You can always call Utah State Division of Consumer protection to ask for information about Kidney Kars, because we are IN UTAH.

The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho Kidney Kars office is in Provo, Utah. So whether you’re in Utah or Idaho, we process your donation locally.  Donated Kidney Kars are then sold, parted or recycled in order to raise money for our kidney patient programs: medical financial aid, transportation to and from dialysis, transplantation costs, nutritional supplements (to keep patients healthy enough to qualify for the kidney transplant waiting list), patient educational scholarships, family and youth transplant camps, medical research, free kidney health screenings and way too many financial, patient, education and community programs to list here without getting super boring. But you can find a complete list of our programs on our Annual Report located online at: Kidneyut.org/who-we-are/#annual_report

So there’s a bit of  danger in simply Googling “Who accepts car donations in Utah?” Lots of charities take car donations, but chances are, if they are an out of state charity (and using 3rd party business to advertise, take calls for and manage their car donation program) the business claims a big chunk of the monies earned from your car donation. Sometimes out of state car donation programs are reaping as little as 50% or less of the funds raised.  But not Kidney Kars of Utah and Idaho (www.towKars.org)! We are able to accept the donations in Utah and Idaho, sell/part/recycle the donated cars to give 100% of the funds raised to our charitable mission (Utah and Idaho patient services/community services/medical research).

So the next time someone asks you which charity in Utah takes car donation, tell them it’s the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars! How car donations work is, you can call us 9-5/M-F (801) 226-5111 or donate online at www.towKars.org  We’ll gather information about the car, who to call and where to pick it up and then we email you a tax receipt! You can always feel good about keeping your Kidney Kars donation local because you know there are over 3,000 Utah and Idaho dialysis and transplant patients who benefit from our services.

Tell a friend!

Thank you for my Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship!

Dear National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho,

I’d like to thank everyone for the wonderful work/service you do changing lives; I especially want to thank all those that played a part in and made my receiving this Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship possible. I understand that the majority of the donations come from Kidney Kars donations. So my parents are donating their 2003 Acura to you when we arrive to Utah. I so look forward to continuing my education and one day hope to be a doctor, like so many doctors who cared for me as a kid when I was sick with kidney failure.  I want to bless the lives, and pay the blessings forward!  This scholarship makes this possible! I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to make the most out of y newfound energy and live!

Sincerely,

Kendon H.

Again thank you for everything, may the kidney foundation and all it’s employees be blessed for all their efforts

August 18, 2019
Dear National Kidney Foundation of Utah ,
My wife Nicole and I would like to express utmost thanks for the one time payment that applies to help with our rent . It came at a much needed time and has truly been a blessing and a miracle in our lives .
It has been a hard year for my wife and I. My kidney function started to decline drastically last December (2018). I was treated for sepsis in March due to an infection which resulted in cellulitis caused by kidney failure . In April we were in a serious car accident in which my wife broke her ankle. She was out of work for nine weeks and I was her caretaker even though I was currently sick.
In July my kidney dropped below 15% and I started dialysis. I had surgery just a week earlier to put in my fistula but required  AV access in the chest because the fistula wasn’t quite ready.
Currently I’m in dialysis and doing physical therapy for the accident but also neuropathy and muscle failure caused by sepsis .
It’s been an emotional roller coaster for us this whole year, which is why I described this assistance as a miracle, because that’s truly what it is. We couldn’t be more thankful for the timeliness or help, and for that our hearts are full of gratitude .
Again thank you for everything, may the kidney foundation and all it’s employees be blessed for all their efforts .
Sincerely ,
Matt and Nicole O

Utah County Sheriff’s sergeant honored for donating kidney to save friend’s life

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/utah-county-sheriff-s-sergeant-honored-for-donating-kidney-to/article_ddc45e9d-7412-55bb-9628-372b1dd004de.html?fbclid=IwAR1V6aRJu0-bo0PbaWzvz8_eYGeDlKimxykmgrsHZbCQPP1bfXa0REkn2fk

We love Utah for its generosity. How awesome that in a small town like Provo, in a small state like Utah we have such generous donors and humanitarians?  Sgt. Spencer Cannon offered his kidney up the same way he might have offered a neighbor a cup of flour — at least, that’s how his friend Ed Cameron describes the phone call that changed both men’s lives.

The two men have been like brothers for the past 18 years, ever since the two neighbors first met at church in American Fork.

When he was in his 40s, Cameron’s health began seriously deteriorating. First, he had a heart attack, then he found out his kidneys were only functioning at about 16 percent. By last year, Cameron’s kidneys were functioning at only 2 percent, prompting him to start dialysis.

“Dialysis is nothing but human torture until death,” Cameron said. “So I feel really sorry for those that are literally sitting and waiting for a kidney from anyone.”

After finding out his family members were unable to donate the organ for him, Cameron says he posted a Facebook status letting people know he was looking for a donor. Cannon was the first to call.

“He said, ‘You really need a kidney?’ Then, just as if he were offering a neighbor a cup of flour, a cup of milk, or a cup of sugar, he said, ‘I’ll give you my kidney,’” Cameron said.

Cannon admitted he hadn’t really thought about it before offering — but once he made the offer, he was serious about following through. He’s been uncomfortable with the attention he’s received for the act, including receiving a Hero plaque from the Utah Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge at a ceremony in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

Cannon was confirmed as a match for Cameron in July, but delays kept the surgery from happening until November, just a few days before Thanksgiving.

“I don’t like this kind of attention,” Cannon said just before receiving the award. “I didn’t do it for that reason … The only thing that matters to me is that my friend’s alive and he’s got a bright future.”

The only reason Cannon tolerates the attention, he said, is in hopes of educating other people about organ donation.

“They can realize, you know what, I could do this too,” Cannon said. “(They) could at least be on the donor registry, if not a live organ donor.”

Both men say they’re feeling good at nearly three months out from surgery. Cannon is back at work, and Cameron has been back to the gym a couple of times. Cameron now has his sights set on creating a live kidney donor registry for those who want to follow in Cannon’s footsteps. He sported a purple bracelet that said, “All you need is one.”

“That’s my new mission, since I have a new lease on life,” Cameron said. “That one kidney changed my whole entire life around.”

 

Kidney Patient Thanks Utah Kidney Kars Donors for Help.

Over the last year, my life has changed.  My kidneys failed about a year ago and I have had to go on dialysis.
The changes in my life although difficult, they have been assisted with the help of the doctors and nurses at the dialysis center but also with the National Kidney Foundation.
Besides adjusting emotionally to the medical conditions I now face, dialysis also brings financial hardships to a very tight and limited budget.
Besides the cost of the treatments there has been other hardships not anticipated.
I live in rural Utah and the nearest dialysis center is about 90 miles away.  The cost of traveling 3 times a week is time consuming but also expensive for the fuel and transportation costs.
I am very grateful for the help the NKFU has given to offset some of these transportation costs.
This help has come from donations to NKFU from various individual and corporate donors.  THANK YOU for making this a little easier for those of us that are now dependent on medical treatments to enjoy life each day.
Sincerely,
L. Kunzler

Letter from desperate Aunt on behalf of her nephew on dialysis.

We receive letters like this every day, and are so grateful to be able to do something to help.  Because of your Kidney Kars donation (using the local Utah/Idaho website www.towKars.org) we have funding available for patients like Victor and his family. Thank you for your Kidney Kar Donation in Utah or Idaho.  The funding that comes from Kidney Kars Donations is put to immediate good use locally and we are very grateful for your support.

Dear National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho,

My nephew is 12 years old and is on kidney dialysis. He lives in  Idaho but Primary Children’s hospital in Salt Lake City, UT is providing care for him. He is being sent home today, so he can start doing home dialysis, but it has been very expensive to drive from Victor to Salt Lake multiple times a week prior to him coming home. Is there any financial assistance program available for my brother, who is a single dad, raising 2 kids on his own, for these type of expenses? Also the medical supplies and other supplies needed for home dialysis treatment over the next 6 months at minimum. I am trying to assist my brother as much as possible with the financial end of things for my nephew’s care including reconciliation of medical bills, reaching out for financial assistance and setting up payment plans with doctor’s and hospitals for care received already. If you could email me with any information that may be helpful I would appreciate it. Thank you for all your assistance.
Jacqueline W.