Wake Forest coach stresses need for organ donation

Posted April 3, 2011 12:15 p.m. EDT

— 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."

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.