CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER
Kirsten Mock and her twin sister, Emily, both have art work they have created that will be sold during the Kidney for Kirsten Awareness Benefit that will be held Friday, March 31. Kirsten Mock is in need of a kidney transplant.
CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER Kirsten Mock and her twin sister, Emily, both have art work they have created that will be sold during the Kidney for Kirsten Awareness Benefit that will be held Friday, March 31. Kirsten Mock is in need of a kidney transplant.
Just about everyone has heard of “Minnesota nice.” Folks living in the Midwest walk that extra mile to help their friends, neighbors and even people they don’t know, in their time of need. People living in the small towns and communities that dot the landscape of southeast Minnesota seem to take Minnesota nice to the next level. They rally around those facing a crisis and do whatever they can to improve the situation.

That’s exactly what an ever-growing group of Harmony-area residents are doing, as they plan an awareness benefit for Kirsten Mock. The benefit is slated for Friday, March 31.

Kirsten is the 17-year-old daughter of Clay and Kathie Mock of Harmony, who is in dire need of a kidney transplant. She was born with many complex health issues, including only one severely-damaged kidney.

During the course of Kirsten’s young life, she has endured more than 30 surgeries, including a kidney transplant when she was 7 years old. The kidney she received from her father enabled her to live a more normal life, without having to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for about 10 years. Unfortunately, that kidney is now only functioning at about 10 percent of what it should and Kirsten is back on the dialysis machine, making three trips weekly to Saint Marys in Rochester and looking for a kidney donor.

The Mock family moved from Ellensburg, Wash., to Harmony about 10 years ago. They wanted to be close to the Mayo Clinic, which could provide the special care Kirsten needed.

“When we lived in Washington state, it was a five-hour drive over a mountain pass to Seattle, where Kirsten was taking treatments. And it was up to four times a week,” Kathie explained. Things weren’t getting better for Kirsten and the Mocks turned to the Mayo Clinic.

“We decided to move to the Rochester area,” Kathie recalled. “So Clay loaded up a bunch of our furniture and headed for Minnesota. We were on the phone at the time with a realtor, trying to line up a place to rent.”

The Mocks found a house in Spring Valley to rent for the interim, and moved the rest of their household. About six months later, they were able to sell their home in Washington and started looking for a house to purchase. They found a home in Harmony and have been living there ever since.

“Harmony is such a wonderful place to live,” Kathie said. “It’s a very loving community. The people are so kind and friendly here. People here are much more open and friendly than they were in Washington. In Harmony, they are always here, ready to help each other out. In Washington, everyone stayed to themselves. It’s not that way in this town.”

The Mocks became acquainted with scores of folks in Harmony, including the Dana and Amber Coaty family. It’s the Coaty family who is spearheading the benefit.

The Kidney for Kirsten Awareness Benefit will be held at the Harmony Community Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. It will feature a meal, a bake sale, silent auction, raffle and a performance by The Danger Committee.

The Danger Committee is a world-renown trio of knife throwing and fire juggling comedians who have appeared on TV’s Americas Got Talent, NBC’s E!, the Travel Channel, and stages from New York to Las Vegas. They also perform at the nation’s largest renaissance festivals, including the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee.

That’s where Kirsten and her family got acquainted with The Danger Committee. “We enjoy attending the Renaissance Festival each year and have gotten to know The Danger Committee,” Kathie explained. “We contacted them, told them about Kirsten’s heath issues and asked them if they would consider performing for our benefit. They said they would. When I asked them how much they would charge for the show, they said they would be it free of charge. I couldn’t believe it.”

The benefit meal will feature pork chops on a stick and barbequed turkey legs from Red’s IGA in Spring Grove, plus all the fixings.

There will also be a bake sale to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Raffles and a silent auction will also be held. Both Kirsten and her twin sister, Emily, are accomplished art students at Fillmore Central High School. Many of their pieces will also be for sale. A golf cart from Harmony Golf Carts will be the top raffle prize, along with numerous cash prizes and donated items.

An informational presentation about kidney donation will also be part of the events during the evening.

“The community has really stepped up, donating items for this benefit,” Amber Coaty noted. “We are still accepting donations for the benefit. So if folks are interested, they can contact me at 507-676-5456.”

Coaty added individuals can also check out the JEM Theatre Facebook page or the Kidney for Kirsten Caring Bridge page for more information.