Enjoy 'The Lion King' and raise money for college scholarships

KSAT producer hosts annual scholarship fundraiser at Alamo Drafthouse

By Jake Kobersky

SAN ANTONIO - The work done by the Texas Kidney Foundation never comes to an end. The staff of TKF continues to educate, detect, support and make the community aware of the rising numbers in kidney disease. 

The foundation also supports the campaign to send students to college.

On Sunday, July 21, the Texas Kidney Foundation will host the Maria Villanueva Scholarship Fundraiser at the Alamo Drafthouse Park North, 618 NW Loop 410. The event will provide lunch, drinks and door prizes as they show "The Lion King" on its opening weekend.

The college scholarship and fundraiser was started by KSAT 12 Sports Producer Daniel P. Villanueva six years ago in honor of his mother. The scholarship is awarded to students attending college who have been affected by kidney disease. The Maria Villanueva scholarship is the only one of its kind in the state of Texas and one of only a few in the United States.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of my mother receiving her kidney transplant," Villanueva said this week. "My mom spent most of the 1990's on dialysis at various clinics in San Antonio. At no point during that time did my parents let the mounting medical bills prevent them from making education a top priority."

"My father and I felt it was best to honor her strength and memory by helping others like her as they seek higher education."

Maria Villanueva had her transplanted kidney for 11 years before passing in 2011. She spent over 30 years working for Baptist Medical Center in downtown as a microbiologist. The hospital put up a cross in her honor at the Seymour Street entrance the same year.

"I know she would be proud of not only the scholarship, but of the people who contribute to this cause," added Villanueva. "This kind of scholarship and help from the foundation did not exist when my family went through this. I know how helpful it can be and this really can change peoples lives."

The scholarship goes to college students who have donated a kidney, received a kidney transplant, currently on dialysis or are the child of a parent who is fighting kidney disease. 

"The most common character trait I've noticed in our scholarship applicants is the desire to use their lives to help others like themselves. It's hard to pick our scholarship recipients because they all have such remarkable journeys. Knowing that they have this goal in mind to pay it forward is truly remarkable."

There will be a small presentation prior to the movie to announce the winners of this year's scholarship. 100 percent of the funds raised this summer go to scholarships for 2020. Each ticket is $25 and doors open at 1 p.m. with a presentation before the 2 p.m. movie. Tickets for this event can only be purchased at txkidney.org/scholarship

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