Recent kidney transplant recipient walks 90 miles for awareness
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services about 18 people die everyday because they don't get an organ donation. One Central Illinois man is trying to change that. He was waiting for three years until a phone call changed his life. August 2, 2013, he got a kidney transplant. He's walking 90 miles to raise awareness about organ donations and transplants.
The road Don Stuckey is traveling on is from Effingham to Springfield, but his road in life, hasn't been as smooth. Three years ago he got news from his doctor that his kidneys were failing.
"I told him I wanted to wait until Monday to go, cause this was on Friday, and he told me I might not make it until Monday," Stuckey explained. "I might be dead by Monday."
Stuckey went into immediate dialysis
"Being on dialysis it's kind of like getting a prison sentence," Stuckey described.
But just more than a month ago he was granted a new life, a kidney.
"It means a great deal to me," he said. "To me, it's like life."
Now with each step Stuckey takes, he said he's hoping to help others and raise awareness about organ transplants and donations.
"I just want to make sure that everybody that's eligible for a transplant gets one and they don't have a rough time doing it," he said.
Stuckey wasn't on this journey alone. His mom and sister were following him in their car every step of the way.
"He came up with the idea in May and of course recruited mom and I instantly," said Linda Hollinshead, Stuckey's sister.
They follow slowly, listening to music, witnessing how a kidney transplant has changed a man and what it means to a family.
"A lot," Hollinshead said fighting back tears. "This is the first time I've gotten emotional about it... A lot."
Stuckey's walk ends Friday, but his new life is just beginning.
So far Stuckey has raised around $3,000. All of the money goes to Memorial Transplant Services Patience Assistance Fund. If you're interested in helping, you can visit walk90.org.