Harris Dufrene III will have a 50th birthday to remember – on Saturday the life-long St. Charles Parish resident will celebrate his five decades of life with a birthday bash and fundraiser in his honor.
Dufrene underwent a kidney transplant this spring after a five-year struggle with declining health. He began having kidney issues a few years ago, believed to be the result of hypertension. Ultimately, his kidneys began to shut down.
“I worked in the oilfield … I still had decent levels,” Dufrene said. “I kept working through it all, made a few offshore hitches, and I started feeling kind of bad. Towards the end, I came home and went back to the doctor. They checked everything and my levels dropped tremendously. The next thing I knew, I was in complete renal failure.”
Angie Keller, Dufrene’s friend and one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, said she has been helping Dufrene in getting to doctor’s appointments and with other things related to his care. She said Dufrene has been left with massive medical bills related to his health journey, as well as the burden of paying nearly $1,000 a month for anti-rejection medication.
“I talk to him everyday and check on him,” Keller said. “It’s been four months since the surgery and he keeps saying, ‘Now I have to figure out how to pay for this.’”
Keller said she and other friends in their social circle got together to figure out how to relieve some of the stress and financial pressure off of Dufrene, who is not cleared by his doctors to work just yet.
“We said, ‘We can do this … we can get together a big fundraiser,’” Keller said.
Saturday’s event – which falls on Dufrene’s actual birthday – will be held at Bruce’s Fat Boys Retreat, located at 296 Paul Maillard Road in Luling. The day will include $10 spaghetti and pastalaya dinner sales from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and raffles.
All proceeds from Saturday will go to medical expenses and anti-rejection meds. A cornhole tournament will take place outside at 4 p.m. and cost $50 a two-person team, and a pedro cards tournament will start at 2 p.m. Cost of entry for that is $20 per person. From 6-10 p.m. a DJ will play music and a $5 cover charge will apply. There will be a drawing for $25 bar tab.
For more information or to donate, contact Keller at 504-460-0971.