Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) February 18, 2012 -- Since birth, Durek Verrett has been in tune with other realms of awareness. Gifted with an extraordinary sensitivity, he spent years studying various faiths and therapeutic techniques from around the world, distilling them all into his unique-and immensely popular-brand of spiritual healing. Endlessly generous and self-effacing, Shaman Durek devoted his life to helping others, so it was quite a shock when he found himself having to ask for it himself.
At 30, he literally died of complications arising from kidney failure. After his resuscitation, doctors worried about brain damage or him never walking again. He found his health permanently changed in other ways, as well: four-hour dialysis sessions three times per week. Without working kidneys, he was unable to drink any fluids, eat fruit or even urinate. His HIV-positive status further complicated matters, weakening his chances of receiving a transplant and causing doctors concern that he might not survive the operation.
And yet, when faced with such tremendous adversity, Shaman Durek's reaction was serene, confident, selfless. He proved doctors wrong by regaining his mobility and mental faculties, and discovered a higher purpose for his suffering.
"Coming out of that experience was the finish of my awakening-this is my path, this is my focus," he said. "I'm going through excruciating pain every day, but I'm out there doing charity work, putting my energy into the community to make this world a better place. I force myself out of bed every morning, even if I'm nauseated or in pain, and put my best foot forward."
Whether it's his widely read "Conscious Living" column in Frontiers, his radio show or his personal workshops and sessions for followers like Jimmy Chamberlain of The Smashing Pumpkins, Shaman Durek continues to send out his love and light into the universe-so perhaps it's not surprising that a large portion of it is being returned.
He celebrated five years with his partner, Hank Greenberg. Then his sister Angelina agreed to donate a kidney-a miraculous, life-changing act of heroism. And after an unexpected health scare and emergency surgery last September that threatened to ruin any financial possibility of affording the transplant, the most inspiring gesture of all. Sponsored by Publisher David Stern of Frontiers as well as Eric Klein of Can-Do.org, and lovingly brought to life by countless friends and family, a fundraiser: The Carnival of Magic Medicine.
Scheduled for Feb. 25, 2012, from 1-9 p.m., the event will feature a wealth of spirituality, magic and self-empowerment professionals, including mini-sessions with the best healers and alternative therapists in Los Angeles, for only $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The Carnival will include live performances from a variety of acts, including internationally acclaimed dance troupe WIFE, and a silent auction featuring donations from the likes of Duran Duran's John Taylor to the city's hottest fashion, art and grooming boutiques and salons.
"We've set our fundraising goal at $100,000-it's what we need, plus a bumper for Angie and Durek's recovery," Greenberg said. "He'll be recovering for four to six months and Angelina for three. As soon as we get to half of our goal, we'll be able to schedule our surgery. For Durek, that will mean a return to normal life."
This amazing opportunity, born of the goodwill gleaned from a lifetime of service, still manages to humble Shaman Durek.
"The generosity brings tears to my eyes. I'm not a person who goes up there and asks for handouts or help. I'm the one who's always extending myself, and so is Hank," he said. "This is our community, and we're the caretakers, so to see this return from people willing to donate their energy, their time, their love, so that Hank and I can see the finish line-it's amazing."
"Durek is the bravest person I know, and he never complains. He has taught me why I'm here," Greenberg said. "He's my soulmate and I would do anything for him. This story has a happy ending-Durek is getting his kidney."
"By regaining my strength, energy and time, I'm going to get more involved and devote my efforts to help more people," Durek said. "I deeply appreciate all the support, from the magazine, from the readers and from everyone else. I love you all."
For more information on the Carnival and Shaman Durek, or to make a donation to his medical fund, please visit ShamanDurek.com.