Bene has been a Diabetic since she was 13. After years of dealing with diabetes she was young, she learned a life threatening diagnosis.
Bene had always thought she had it under control but when she got older her eyes started to have problems. Then in 1998 she started getting sick and weak, her Doctor said you have congestive heart failure. That lead to more tests which showed she was having kidney failure. She was devastated but then found determination when she stared dialysis. This lead her to go on full disability. It broke her heart to not work at the Nugget after 13 years. The Nugget in Sparks is where Madonna and Bene would start their lifelong friendship for over 32 years.
After one year Bene received disability and social security, but it was a long hard process and Senator Bryan helped her. She started to fundraise to help with her kidney transplant and the Review Journal wrote a story on her. After that article ran many local people started helping. Bene credits Senator Bryan’s office helping her get closer to a transplant date.
Bene’s Daughter Alicia helped raise money at the Rodeo Rock Bar where she worked. Her daughter Alicia determined to her mom, held a fundraiser that would change Bene’s life forever. Bene found her hero, Alicia’s boss Mary decided to give her kidney to Bene. Even through Mary did not even know Bene but they would be would soul sister forever.
Today Bene supports the Sierra Nevada Donor Awareness where she is an ambassador. To spread the work and eye tissue and organ donation is. This year it is 18 years of her new life since her kidney transplant.