WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Celebrities participating in the 17th annual Willie Stargell Celebrity Golf Invitational toured the dialysis unit at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on Friday, meeting patients and learning about the center.
The center is named after the late baseball great, Willie Stargell, who died in 2001 from kidney failure.
Sports personalities from baseball, football, basketball, golf, former Olympians, and actors and entertainers, chatted with patients currently undergoing dialysis treatment for kidney disease, and learned about the new, state-of-the-art machines the foundation made possible.
The Willie Stargell Foundation was established by Willie’s widow, Margaret Weller-Stargell.
Stargell said the annual visit to the hospital is always a highlight of the tournament weekend.
“I look forward to having our celebrities come to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, to the Willie Stargell Dialysis Unit, because they get to see why we’re doing what we do raising money to assist those patients who are living with kidney disease,” she said.
Having spent the last five years of his life receiving dialysis treatments, it was Willie’s desire that patients who need dialysis are able to receive it and that it be done in a comfortable and relaxed setting. In April 2006, the NHRMC dialysis center was renamed “The Willie ‘Pops’ Stargell Dialysis Center” in recognition of a generous gift made in his memory.
“I know, that Willie would be so proud that much is done in his name to assist those who are living with the disease that ultimately claimed his life,” Stargell said.
The Stargell Foundation continues to give to the NHRMC Foundation, funding the purchase of dialysis equipment, monitors for patients to watch TV during treatment, protein bars for patient nutrition, a warming cabinet for patient blankets, temporal thermometers for patient comfort and funds for patient and staff education.
The Willie Stargell Dialysis Center provides more than 4,000 patient treatments each year.