Kidneys -- from beans to the organ -- will be in the spotlight at a suburban woman's bash tonight.
Sharon Flood, 46, of Pingree Grove, is tossing the party for more than 100 guests just days before she donates a kidney to her older brother, Steven Yelk of Gurnee.
Doctors also will transplant stem cells from Flood's bone marrow into Yelk, with the hope of eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs that can trigger negative side effects. Yelk is fighting incurable polycystic kidney disease or PKD.
Flood said she wants her quirky party to call attention to both facets of the transplant procedure scheduled for Thursday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
"It's just really fun and cute," Flood said.
Tonight's menu will start with an appetizer of no-bean kidney dip, followed by a three-bean kidney salad. The entrée will be red kidney bean chili, with kidney-shaped brownies for dessert.
Beverages will include holiday red-wine punch and red-eye cocktails. Guest names will be on an image of a kidney pinned to their backs.
Yelk, 48, a ComEd employee, said he's looking forward to having a few laughs about the serious situation.
"The family is kind of that way," Yelk said Friday. "Nothing is taken that seriously. I guess we were brought up that way."
Some members of Northwestern Memorial's department of surgery-organ transplant intend to visit the gathering, hospital spokeswoman Amy Dobrozsi said.
Northwestern Memorial nurse Anne Rosen is one of those with a party invitation. She gave a thumbs-up to Flood's kidney-themed event.
"This is a unique situation," Rosen said. "The family is incredibly proactive and wants to do whatever they can to support each other throughout the process."
Adding to the fun will be the band, Liberty's Teeth, which is donating its services. Liberty's Teeth plays music from the 1950s to the 2000s at various suburban venues.
PKD is genetic and causes cysts in a kidney, and eventually failure of the organ.