Greek Supper Club Fundraiser Donates Five Renal Chairs for Better Patient Comfort


The Renal Department received five new treatment chairs (right) thanks to proceeds from the Greek Supper Club. The electric-powered chairs are much more comfortable for patients and can be adjusted without assistance. The third annual Greek Supper Club will be hosted at Bight on October 2, 2018.

by Graham Strong - March 17, 2018

The unique Greek Supper Club fundraiser in support of the Renal Department at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre started off with a last wish.

Lisa Sandham’s mother had advanced kidney disease in the last year of her life which required hours of dialysis. She found the chairs to be uncomfortable, especially while sitting for so long.

“My mother said that if she ever won the lottery, she would buy new chairs for renal patients,” Lisa said. “I wanted to see that last wish through.”

Over the past two years, the fundraiser has raised $32,000 for the Renal Department which has gone directly to the purchase of five chairs. Sandham said their goal is raise another $30,000 this year to replace more chairs.

Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, is about as common as cancer in Canada, yet it isn’t talked about nearly as much. Northwestern Ontario has a much higher rate of renal disease for many different reasons, which makes the need even greater.

“I didn’t really understand how widespread kidney disease is until my mother went through it,” Lisa said.

Kidney transplant is a long-term option, though sadly most people succumb to their disease before one becomes available. Patients with advanced disease endure four to five hours of treatment at least three times per week as their blood gets cleaned by dialysis machines. Sitting in one place for so long can be difficult.

“Comfort is the least we should be able to offer,” said Mary Wrigley, Manager of the Renal Department. “A comfortable chair sounds small but it’s a huge consideration when you’re here that many hours.”

Wrigley said that the new chairs are an overwhelming success because they are more comfortable and easier for patients to adjust on their own.

“The new chairs are electric, so patients can change their position whenever they want using a remote control. It can also raise and lower the height so that the nursing staff doesn’t have to bend over as much,” she said.

Now in its third year, the Greek Supper Club will be held on October 2, 2018 at Bight restaurant. Chef Peter Minaki will return along with chefs Joe Sposato from Bight, Allan Rebelo from El Tres, and sommelier Cale Graydon from Luna in Toronto.

Bight owner Bianca Garofalo said that although the restaurant tends to serve North American cuisine, Bight’s chefs have their roots in Mediterranean-style menus.

“We try to do interesting culinary events when we can. Greek food with a Greek chef seemed like a really good fit,” Garofalo said. This year, the menu will blend Greek with other Mediterranean styles. “We’re excited to be part of the Greek Supper Club – it’s been a big success.”

For Lisa, raising money for renal care is also a personal journey to honour her mother’s memory. “It feels good to help – it’s a way to remember my mother.”

To donate to the Greek Supper Club, please visit:

< back to articles