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Honoring heroes in liver disease fight

Her appendix burst in 1977. Debbie Barnes contracted hepatitis C through a blood transfusion she had then, although it was years before she was diagnosed and years more until she received a liver transplant, in 2001.

Mrs. Barnes and her mother, Dot McCarthy, have been active in the Tampa Bay Hepatitis and Liver Disease Support Group as a result of those experiences. The organization's name is a mouthful, but its work is a great comfort to people who have hepatitis or liver disease of any sort.

The two women were co-chairs of an awards dinner Friday evening at Pasadena Yacht & Country Club. It honored Roland Metivier, chief executive of Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg, which was the event's major sponsor; Dr. Tejinder S. Glamour and Peggy St. Croix, co-founders of the G.I. Clinic; Jane Egbert, executive director of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic; and Jim Martin, regional director for the Laboratory Corporation of America.

The evening also was a benefit for health services at the G.I. and free clinics, where uninsured liver disease patients get treatment.

Mrs. McCarthy and her husband, Avery, also were major sponsors for the evening, where attendees included her son and daughter, Cecil Taylor of Gulfport and Pat Straubel of Colorado; Mrs. Barnes' husband, Vern, and their son Ryan; Dr. Glamour's wife, Kusum, and their children, Jasmine, Amita, Benita and Jasdeep; Tom and L.A. Malin; Bernice McCune; Pat LaMonde; Ann Foster; Hugh Ann Cason-Kelly; Dick and Barbara Royston; and Julia Gill.

Dave Sjolund, attending with his wife, Carol, wore a tie imprinted with elephants he bought in the congressional gift shop in Washington. On the tie was a pin that designated him a lifetime member of the Rolls-Royce Owners Club, information that proved useful to Sharon Clayton, who recently had a scrape with her treasured Rolls.

The Skylight Duo presented the evening's music.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at (727) 893-8267; fax (727) 893-8675; e-mail; P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.