In 1995, I was entering my senior year at Morehead State University. I was playing basketball and enjoying life. Suddenly, I was told news that put everything into perspective. I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called Bergers.
I met the love of my life at Morehead, and Shawne and I married in 1997. I started coaching basketball, and even led Mason County High School to a Sweet Sixteen title. Slowly, my disease started to take its toll. I didn’t want to draw attention to it, but the disease had progressed enough that it was causing my kidneys to shut down. It took too much energy to even give our baby daughter a bath. My only answer, a life-saving answer, was a kidney transplant. My family was tested, and my amazing wife Shawne was a match. I always say that she was a gift when she agreed to marry me, but to give me a kidney, and allow me to be a good husband, father and coach, was truly a gift of life. Shawne never even hesitated.
After my transplant in 2004, I was able to get back on the court and continue my coaching career. I led Pikeville College to a National Title in 2011, and the first person I looked for after the win was Shawne. She’s the one who made this happen. She is my life, along with our 2 beautiful children – Kaylee, 8, and Mason, 4. We have learned to appreciate the little things in life, and we know how blessed we are.
Since our experience, we have become advocates for organ donation. We want to encourage everyone in our community to support organ and tissue donation and join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. There are thousands of people waiting on a transplant, and registering as an organ donor could lead to the gift of life for so many. We want to let people know how important it is, and how simple it is to add yourself to the donor registry. Once you have this experience happen to you or a family member, you start to see how real it actually is.