Benefit planned for man with kidney disease

Zack Schmitz is currently under treatment for Kidney Disease, which he has been battling since 2014. A benefit for Schmitz is planned for Jan. 12 at McCody Concrete in Williston. Friends, family and community members are coming together for a benefit to help a local man as he battles kidney disease.

Zack Schmitz was diagnosed with kidney disease in October 2014 after a CT scan showed a blockage in his kidney. Doctor believe that Schmitz, 26, was born with the condition, which had gone undiagnosed for over 20 years. Since his diagnosis, Schmitz has been working with doctors in Bismarck and Rochester, Minnesota, in order to help delay kidney failure.

Schmitz has been on dialysis treatments twice a week for over a month. In order to help defray the costs of medical care and expenses, a benefit dinner and auction is planned for Saturday.

The benefit is being held at McCody Concrete, with doors opening around 3:30 p.m. and the silent auction beginning at 4 p.m. and a live auction at 7 p.m.

Margaret Sandvik, Schmitz’s grandmother, has been helping to organize the event, which she said will feature a vast array of items for both the silent and live auctions. Items such as fishing trips, firearms and tools are up for grabs, along with two whole pigs and a half beef. Sandvick said donations have been coming from all over the area for the benefit, and that Schmitz and his family are very grateful for the outpouring of support.

"It’s awesome," she said. "All the people here in Williston have been amazing. There’s been a lot of people here in town helping out. Our friends, the businesses, they’re just awesome."

Food for the benefit is has been provided by organizations in Williston, with a free-will donation for the meal. Throughout the evening, there will be live musical entertainment by Josh Kehr, as well as a cash bar for those 21 and over.

The benefit is open for anyone to attend, and Sandvick said all donations are welcome. She added that anyone who is unable to attend, but would like to donate may do so by contributing to the benefit account at First International Bank and Trust.

Sandvick said Schmitz continues to do well, despite having to leave his job in order to accommodate his need for dialysis. She added Schmitz is still awaiting word on a kidney transplant, and that he will be traveling back to Rochester later in the month for additional tests. She said his family remains by his side, step by step through this difficult journey.

"He’s doing well," she said. "That first day coming off of the (dialysis) treatment really took a lot out of him, and he was pretty much down. But we’re here, and we just continue to give him our support. But he’s doing good."


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