South Beloit High School hosts benefit for Rushford, Kallenbach

South Beloit High School hosts benefit for Rushford, Kallenbach

By Brandon Reid, Assistant Editor

South Beloit High School will host a free benefit concert for the families of Angela Rushford, the 5-year-old Rockford girl who recently underwent a kidney transplant in attempts to correct polycystic renal failure, and Kory Kallenbach, a young man who was hit by a vehicle and left for dead along Illinois Route 173.

The concert will be Sunday, Feb. 9, at South Beloit High School, and will feature performances by ModelOne and the Rockford Lightning Cheerleaders.

Students from South Beloit and Guilford high schools have been asked to raise at least $35 each to help cover medical costs for the Rushford and Kallenbach families. Community members can make contributions at the concert or by contacting John Sousa, South Beloit High School Student Council head, at 815-389-9004, or David Anderson, ModelOne business adviser, at 815-637-7624 for more information. Prizes will be awarded to students raising the most money.

ModelOne band member Stan Valiulis of Rockford contacted South Beloit High School with the idea for the benefit concert. The band will play at Kryptonite Feb. 8, and Valiulis said the band thought having a benefit concert would be a good way to give back to the community.

“The other three guys are driving in from Indiana to play at Kryptonite,” Valiulis said in a press release. “I figured that we should give a little back to the community while we’re all in town. We contacted South Beloit because they have a new school and, quite frankly, I heard it’s pretty cool. They’re also the state football champs.”

Sousa said he thought the concert would help students recognize the needs of others in the community.

“We’re asking students to get $35 in pledges,” Sousa said. “Typically when we raise money, the students are the direct benefactors of the fund-raising effort. That’s what’s so neat about this. None of the money we are raising will go toward the student body, but we will be helping two families that have undergone huge emotional and financial hardships. You can’t put a price on that.”

A press conference was scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29 at South Beloit High School, 245 Prairie Hill Road, South Beloit. Sousa, Anderson, David Harper (Angela Rushford’s organ donor), and members of both the Rushford and Kallenbach families were invited to attend the press conference.

Angela Rushford underwent surgery Jan. 3 at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. She had both of her kidneys removed to make room for 38-year-old Harper’s kidney. She is now home and in good condition.

Costs of Angela’s medical care now total more than $600,000. Social Security is picking up some of the cost, but the remaining cost will leave the Rushfords in financial ruin.

The Rushfords’ story has gained much national and international media attention, including features on NBC’s Today show, the CBS Evening News.

Angela had been on a cadaver from donor list for about six months before her mother, Patty, placed a free classified ad in The Rock River Times seeking a kidney donor. Harper was one of about 50 people the Rushfords said responded to the ad.

The Rock River Times now offers a free organ donation section in its classifieds, and this paper’s Editor & Publisher, Frank Schier, has encouraged other publications to do the same.

Harper and the Rushfords have created The Angela Rushford Children’s Organ Donation Fund, which will raise money to be distributed to families of children age 16 and younger to help them cover the costs associated with transplant. Donations can be made by contacting the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) at 815-962-2110, or by visiting CFNIL’s Web site,

A benefit for the Rushfords is also scheduled for noon to midnight on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Moose Lodge No. 1551 in Mount Morris. Cost is $5 at the door and includes one drink, music, an auction, a 50/50 raffle, Elvis imperonators and backup band, EP Express DJ Chris Corcoran, and karaoke. For information on the Moose Lodge benefit, call 815-734-4161, or to designate an item to be auctioned, call 815-734-9028.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!