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ECU program specialist Kim Walters and her husband Dean, pictured above, are grateful for the resources provided by the National Kidney Foundation, one of the organizations supported by the State Employees Combined Campaign. The organization supported the couple when Dean's kidney failure led Kim to donate a kidney to her husband. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


LIFE-SAVING GIFT


About the SECC


What is the SECC?
The State Employees Combined Campaign was created by Governor Jim Hunt in 1984 as the only authorized fundraising campaign permitted to solicit charitable contributions in the state employee workplace.

The principal aim of the SECC is to strengthen North Carolina communities through a program that ensures charitable organizations are accountable and fiscally sound. (From http://www.ncsecc.org/about-us)

ECU Giving
The top five charities and/or organizations and the total amount pledged by ECU employees in 2013 is as follows:
  1. Greenville Community Shelters, $10,061
  2. Family Support Networks of Eastern North Carolina, $9,864
  3. Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, $9,562
  4. Boys & Girls Clubs of Pitt County, $8,139
  5. United Way of Pitt County, $7,708.

The number and percentage of ECU employees who give, along with the average gift, is as follows:
  • 936 or 17.2 percent of employees gave in 2013. Total amount was $183,029.
  • 1,406 or 34.3 percent of employees gave in 2003. Total amount raised was $194,335.
  • Average gift in 2013: $190.89
  • Average gift in 2003: $138.22.
The most successful contribution year in the past 10 years was 2004. In 2004, 1,582 employees or 38.6 percent gave a total of $222,580. The average gift was $140.70.

How Giving Helps
A contribution of $5 a month, or $2.50 a pay period, may provide:
  • Seven backpacks filled with food for children
  • Blood pressure medication for a patient
  • A humane trap for use with a feral cat program
  • Cleaning supplies for a volunteer group to clean the home and yard of an elderly person in need.


  • Information provided by the State Employees Combined Campaign


Experience prompts pledge to State Employees Combined Campaign

Sept. 29, 2014

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services


Three years ago, East Carolina University’s Kim Walters donated a kidney to her husband, Dean, whose own kidneys failed after almost 30 years with diabetes.

Three months later, Dean walked their daughter Lauren down the aisle.

The Walters say the National Kidney Foundation was a resource for everything they needed during that time.

As a result, Kim will give to the foundation again this year through ECU’s State Employees Combined Campaign. The SECC is an annual statewide fundraising campaign aimed at strengthening North Carolina communities through employee donations that can be designated for more than 1,000 eligible charities.

dance
Dean Walters dances with his daughter Lauren at her wedding, three months after his kidney transplant.
“We never really thought the amount we gave would make a huge difference,” Kim said. “But I believe the bigger picture is for people to give whatever they can, either five hours or five dollars. It may not be a big deal to them, but it is to the person they’re helping.”

The Charleston, South Carolina, natives met in their 20s, married and relocated to Greenville for Dean’s job with DuPont about 17 years ago. Kim, a university program specialist in administration and finance and strategic initiatives, has been at ECU for 16 years.

Lab results from Dean’s regular visit to the endocrinologist in the summer of 2011 triggered a referral to a nephrologist. A routine doctor’s visit catapulted to planning for a kidney transplant. “It was fast,” he said.

“As a diabetic you learn about long-term issues,” Kim said. “We had studied all about diabetes. But, all of sudden, kidney failure.” She scrambled to find out as much as possible. “So many times what we learned came from the kidney foundation.”

The Walters had hoped for a transplant before dialysis was necessary. But within days, Dean began the six-hour, every-other-day treatments to remove toxic waste from his blood. He was on dialysis for six weeks.

“People think sometimes with the State Employees Combined Campaign that you go to agencies for financial assistance. Sometimes it’s not necessarily financial assistance but guidance about who to contact, how to go about it,” Kim said.

Armed with a notebook of information, Kim began the testing process to become a living donor. After a battery of tests, Kim learned she was a match.

Dr. Robert Harland, professor and chief of surgical immunology and transplantation at ECU and chief of transplant surgery at Vidant Medical Center, performed the surgery on Dec. 9, 2011.

Because it was winter and Dean’s immune system was compromised, he reduced contact with other people for several months. Dean’s first post-surgery outing was their daughter Lauren’s wedding in March 2012.

Later that same year, Dean walked their daughter, Brittney, down the aisle. Both daughters are ECU graduates.

Since the transplant surgery, Dean continues to follow a strict diet, something he was accustomed to with diabetes. Kim can no longer take medications that filter through her kidney. “A lot of people live with just one kidney,” she said. “To the average person, it’s no big deal. There’s no difference.”

Now retired, Dean has gone from carving wooden ducks to making toy trucks for grandson Bryce, who was born in July.

“Dean is able to enjoy his grandson. Seeing and holding Bryce and knowing three years ago life was completely different,” Kim said. “We still get frustrated with doctor’s appointments and not feeling well some days, but we have a new purpose.”

Pledging to the State Employees Combined Campaign will make a difference in someone’s life, like it did theirs, Kim said.

“The research that these agencies are doing (on all types of diseases) needs support. We don’t want Bryce and others to have to worry about diabetes or anything else,” Kim said.

ECU employees are invited to pledge to the State Employees Combined Campaign from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12. For more information, click here (sign in required)