My story began when I was four years old. The doctors at the Naval Hospital in South Carolina diagnosed me with Alport syndrome. My mother didn’t believe them and chose not to seek treatment for me. I’d always had blood in my urine but the doctors that saw me didn’t know what was causing it. I also had to start wearing hearing aids at age 7. I never knew I had Alports until my second semester of my freshman year of college when I went into End Stage Renal Failure. I didn’t even know I had any problems with my kidneys up until then.
I was 20 years old at the time. I had been having flu like symptoms for several days and one night I woke up unable to breath. I was rushed to our local hospital in Morristown, TN and placed on a ventilator. I was then flown to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, TN and immediately placed on dialysis. I began in-clinic hemodialysis in Sept 1998. I spent almost a year on dialysis before having my first kidney transplant in July 1999, which came from my father, Bobby. After recovering from the transplant surgery I returned to school and became a Paramedic. I’ve worked as a Paramedic for almost ten years. I also married the love of my life in October 2006, Gabby.
I have competed in the U.S. Transplant Games in 2000, 2002, and 2004. I won gold medals in bowling and basketball, and a bronze medal in bowling.
In July 2007, I started having chronic rejection of my transplant. With the help of medications the doctors were able to keep the transplant working up until December 2009. On December 28, 2009, I was admitted to The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, TN to begin dialysis again. Some
Christmas present huh?
It was very tough on my wife, considering I started getting sick 6 months after we were married. But since then she has been my rock through all of this. She keeps telling me not to get discouraged that she’s
going to do everything in her power to get me another transplant. If it weren’t for her, I probably would have given up a long time ago.
I’ve been back on dialysis for almost 2 years now, in-clinic hemodialysis. I am currently awaiting my second kidney transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN and at The University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, KY.
I am no longer on dialysis and awaiting a transplant. On November 29, 2011, I received my second kidney transplant from a young man who lost his life in an auto accident. To the family of this person, my
family and I will be forever grateful. My life has improved so much since my transplant, and after being away from the job I love for nearly 2 ½ years, I‘m finally going back to being a Paramedic.