Summer on Martha's Vineyard ended on a fun-filled, philanthropic note with the successful launch of the annual On The Vine music festival, a benefit concert series in support of kidney disease research. Hosted by comedian Tony Roberts, concertgoers from across the US and overseas, were treated to stellar performances by an award-winning lineup of artists who converged on the idyllic island to support the cause.
The iconic Smokey Robinson serenaded a full house as he moved and grooved with age-defying sexiness and vitality. Songstress Natalie Cole, delighted audiences with her timeless classics and had the crowd on its feet dancing to Latin rhythms with selections from her new chart-topping album entitled, Natalie Cole en Español. Grammy Award winning artists Kenny "BabyFace" Edmonds, Angie Stone and Miri Ben-Ari gave rousing performances along with jazz greats Kahil El Zabar, Roy Hargrove and James Carter.
Dr. Karl Skorecki spoke passionately about the inspiring collaboration between the African American and Jewish communities in the quest to end kidney disease. As a first step towards a cure, he and his team of researchers at Rambam Medical Campus in Haifa Israel have isolated the gene responsible for the disease. Additional funding is necessary for their current work focused on creating a vaccine to end the disease's ravaging effects--the success of which, would particularly benefit African Americans who are five times more at risk for getting the disease than any other race. It is estimated that researchers are about four years and five million dollars away from a cure.
The research efforts at Rambam rely heavily on funding support from people in the United States--especially the African American community--in order to purchase the technologically advanced equipment necessary to bring a kidney disease cure to fruition. The American Friends of Rambam, a New York based nonprofit organization, is working diligently with On The Vine producer Dennis Shortt to create ongoing events around the nation to continue raising both awareness and funding for the cause. On October 14, 2013, the On The Vine Green Classic, a golf tournament to benefit kidney disease research, is scheduled to take place in California at the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms.
In the spirit of the words, "I am my brother's keeper," people of all races and economic means are encouraged to open up their hearts and wallets to create a new reality--a world free from kidney disease. To make a donation, text KDR to 20222 and $10 will be automatically charged to your phone bill. For information about On The Vine Events visit www.onthevineevents.com.