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#1 Humor with a Purpose by the Arizona Women’s Board
#2 I Love You With… by Adriana Trigiani
#3 When God Created Mothers by Matt Bombeck
#4 Life is for Sharing by Cheri Tomlinson
#5 Living My Life by Katie Grannan
Meet Erma Bombeck... wife, mother, humorist, author and nationally syndicated columnist who was featured for years on ‘Good Morning America’.
Erma proposed the first Authors Luncheon in 1980, inviting fellow authors and friends from across the country to raise funds and awareness of kidney disease. Erma began her own personal battle with a hereditary disorder, polycystic kidney disease, in the early 1990’s, and unfortunately succumbed to complications of the disease in 1996. To date, through the efforts of the Arizona Women’s Board and the Authors Luncheon, Erma and her husband Bill were responsible for helping to raise more than $4,500,000 of financial support for Arizona kidney patients.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
~ Erma Bombeck
Written by the Arizona Women’s Board in honor of Erma Bombeck
Meet Adriana Trigiani... best selling author, award winning playwright, television writer/producer, filmmaker and Authors Luncheon Emcee.
I knew Erma Bombeck’s work before I knew she had kidneys. She was a brilliant writer, an author of essential bestsellers about life written with humor and wisdom, the champion of mothers, housewives and working people, a Catholic girl with a word or two for the local priest, a smitten wife and beloved mother herself. She would appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and on morning TV and kill. She was hilarious!
I was a kid who collected pins- I had some good ones: Ratify the ERA, a vintage Nixon’s the One, and one with Donna Summer’s face singing Love to Love You Baby. Learning of my passion, my Aunt Jean sent me a note with a pin to add to the collection. It was a green laminated paper kidney with the simple message: I Love You With All My Kidney. I believe in signs.
Long ago, before there was a diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure, when I had not heard the word dialysis, applied to family and friends, and knew nothing of the sturdy, humble kidney organ and its function, that simple message resonated deeply with me. Years later, when I saw Erma speak of her own prognosis on television, I remember feeling bereft and helpless. That’s why I’m here- and will be as long as my fellow Lizzies fight the fight- there’s much to do, but together we can have an impact.
“Erma’s work changed the world; if we stay the course, we will too.”
~ Adriana Trigiani
Meet Matt Bombeck... writer, kidney transplant recipient and son of Erma Bombeck.
My mom could mine humor in just about everything that came her way: marriage, mothers, housework, kids—it was a long list. Kidney disease was not on it. “You’ll get people feeling sorry for you—and you should never feel sorry for a humorist,” she said. She also believed that it’s not what happens to you—things happen to everyone—but how you deal with what happens to you that makes the difference. That was how she coped, and the long tradition of the Authors Luncheon embodies that spirit; bring some writers together, a funny emcee, and take on a serious fight with joy and laughter.
“If you can’t make it better, you can always laugh at it.”
~ Erma Bombeck
Meet Cheri Tomlinson... healthcare executive, community leader, Authors Luncheon patron and caregiver to a family friend with Polycystic Kidney Disease.
Jason had been on the transplant wait list for five years when he called Cheri at 8:00 p.m. on August 8th, 2018, and said hurriedly, “I am second on-the-list for a kidney and I will know by midnight. If I am selected, can you be with me at the hospital at 7:00 a.m.?” Cheri and her husband had been there often for Jason over their twenty-year friendship, sharing his struggle with kidney disease. This time was different.
One midnight call can change everything. A single-dad to nine-year old Riley, Jason had a real chance now to see his daughter grow up. He and Riley lived with the Tomlinsons while Cheri cared for him post-surgery, every day celebrating the shared gift of life. Today, Jason and Riley are home and thriving.
“Save a Life – It’s in You.”
~ Erma Bombeck
Meet Katie Grannan... daughter, friend, outdoor enthusiast, and lover of life.
Katie Grannan was an energetic 10-year-old when a sports physical detected a rare autoimmune disease was destroying her kidneys. By the time she was a senior at Northern Arizona University, she could barely leave her bed—no longer able to keep up her busy school schedule, work and exercise classes. In July 2014, doctors told her she would need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Her parents were devastated to learn they weren’t a match for organ donation. Desperate to save her only child, Katie’s mom posted a plea on Facebook. She was surprised to receive several responses in a short time, including one from a former neighbor, Amy Sperry, who tested positive as a match and was ready to help save Katie’s life. Now 34, Katie is her energetic self, socializing with friends, encouraging them to join her cycling, hiking, running and paddle boarding.
“Living with a kidney disease hasn’t been easy. I dealt with constant back pain and extreme fatigue. Thanks to Amy, Facebook and the transplant team at St. Joseph’s, I am back to living my life!”
~ Katie Grannan