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Nearly $20,000 raised at Jacob Perala benefit

Jacob Perala and his family accept a check for over $16,000, including $1,000 in matched funds from EOT Thrivent. A benefit was held for 15-year-old Jacob to help raise funds for a kidney transplant and related treatment.

Jacob H. Perala, the 15-year-old son of Jason and Nikki Perala of New York Mills, was diagnosed with a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) or the "silent killer."

Jacob's disease was diagnosed after a blood test for strep showed abnormalities. The medical staff in Perham advised his family to seek further testing in Fargo, where it was discovered that Jake was in renal failure. With no time to spare, he was put on dialysis and continues dialysis treatments every other day, four hours per day.

At a fundraiser held at the New York Mills School commons on June 28, money was raised to assist Jacob's family in seeking a transplant and related treatment.

East Otter Tail Thrivent matched funds up to $1,000. That doesn't include monies that came in after or before the benefit, which went directly to the Jacob Perala Account at Farmers and Merchants State Bank.

According to Tawnia Hoehne, Jacob's aunt, the total amount raised from the benefit was around $19,000.

"Witnessing that generosity was incredibly uplifting to experience, but it almost leaves one speechless," Hoehne says of the New York Mills benefit. "You walk into it with high hopes, but you walk out the other side humbled and completely changed."

Jacob just finished the 9th grade at New York Mills High School, is a confirmed member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, and is a baseball player, golfer and big brother to two brothers and two sisters.

The hope is that Jacob receives a transplant this summer. Extended family members are being studied as donors.