Wake Forest coach stresses need for organ donation

Posted April 3, 2011

— The Wake Forest University baseball coach who gave a kidney to one of his players wants to bring attention to the need for organ donation.

Coach Tom Walter led the 5K Triangle Kidney Walk at North Hills shopping center in Raleigh Saturday.

Among the hundreds of participants were organ donors and transplant recipients.

"All of these people have an amazing story of how organ donation touched their lives in one way or another," Walter said. "Any opportunity to be around these courageous and heroic people is a good day for me."

Wake Forest coach leads Triangle Kidney Walk Wake Forest coach leads Triangle Kidney Walk

This past February, Walter gave a kidney to Wake Forest freshman Kevin Jordan, who had a rare, life-threatening blood disorder that attacked his kidneys.

Jordan has recovered enough so he was able to throw the first pitch at a game on March 19. He hopes to rejoin the team this sumer.

"It was a decision I made easily, and I am so glad I did," Walter said in a statement.

Until confronted with Jacob's illness, Walter said, he wasn't aware of the need for organ donation.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 3,500 people are on the organ donor waiting list in North Carolina. The majority – 86 percent – need a kidney or joint kidney and pancreas transplant.

"I want to do as much as I can to support organ donation awareness. I had no idea about the current crisis of organ donation," Walter said.


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  • htomc42 Apr 7, 2011

    You don't want to accept money? Fine, no problem. That's every bit your right, and I support your decision 100%.

    But there's a little problem. The system we have now isn't working- there is a critical shortage of organs, and long waiting lists, resulting in the sort of angst from that poor woman with the kid with kidney problems.

    If paying donors resulted in a system where organs are -much- more available for the people who desperately need them, would you support it? Isn't -that- what is important here, not your or anyone else's feelings about "doing the right thing"?

    What's wrong with compensating donors? The companies harvesting and processing the organs, and the medical people implanting them, sure don't do it for free.

  • carrboroyouth Apr 7, 2011

    Dear htom;

    I donate blood every 2-3 months and I am an posthumous organ donor, little heart on the driver's license and all. I recently was swabbed to be on the living donor list.

    I'm a college kid who lives off ramen noodles, and frankly I don't think I could accept someone else's money... it's called doing the RIGHT THING.

  • jwms32 Apr 6, 2011


  • jwms32 Apr 6, 2011


    As the mother of a 13 year old young man that has fought and wrestled with kidney disease and the difficulties that come with from conception find this comment a bit distasteful. We are facing dialysis/transplant this year. I can tell you that if a donor is not available, then BEG I WILL!!! Would you not for your child or loved one???!!!!?????.

    I, however, feel that there is no greater HONOR to be held than to give someone the "Gift" of life or to give your life to save that of another. It is called a "Gift" for a reason. What have we as human beings become if we let GREED take that "Gift" over as well. I will gladly donote FREE OF CHARGE to anyone if I can. When I leave this world, take what you may of me, I don't need it where I am going nor will MONEY or COMPENSATION do me of any good!! I would much rather be known for giving of myself unselfishly and willingly than for HAVING TO HAVE HAD BEEN COMPENSATED.


  • htomc42 Apr 6, 2011

    Begging for donations will never work and totally misses the point.

    Whether its organs or blood, there is a tremendous profit made by companies at each stage of the process from donor->recipient, except one- the most critical one- the donor.

    Do we have critically low supplies of shoes? Groceries? Video games? Why is that? Could it possibly be that we -pay- people for those items, and the market responds? If we want a steady and reliable supply of body parts, why don't we unleash the power of capitalism on that problem as well? PAY THE DONORS!

    How many people might be induced to sign up as posthumous donors if they knew that their family would directly benefit from it? How many more people might donate blood if they received some reasonable compensation for it?

  • just my2cents Apr 4, 2011

    AMEN Cwood3!!

  • cwood3 Apr 4, 2011

    Coach of the Year in ACC-NCAA-no one is a close 2nd.

    Wake Forest University-you had better hang onto this one-he's the real deal!!

  • AnneM71 Apr 4, 2011

    Thank you coach for wanting to make people aware of the need for organ donations. My son is about to be tested for a 2nd donation of a kidney. He became sick in 2001 and was fortunate to receive a kidney in 2002. The kidney because of some damage only last 5 years, 3 years longer than expected. The number of people waiting for transplants is staggering with a 4-5 year wait here in NC. Thanks again coach for your support!