I've been told that everything happens for a reason, and my journey to the T.J. Martell Foundation is one that started a long time ago.
I was asked to help with the 1st annual Kidney Foundation River Roast, a Barbecue competition and concert in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Fast forward 20 years. I worked and lived in a different community and spoke to my good friend David Corlew about wanting to contribute my time and asked for his suggestions. He introduced me to the T.J. Martell Foundation. I did, and I continued to work on this event for the next 12 years, even spending a short time on the board. I would soon learn the reason behind my years working with the Kidney Foundation and my newfound efforts with the T.J. Martell Foundation.
Suddenly, I found myself having pains in my side. I went to the Emergency Room, and after having a cat scan, the doctor entered the room with both good and bad news. The good news was that I had a kidney stone in my right kidney, which was easily treatable. The bad news was that I had a growth on my left kidney, which would probably mean the removal of my kidney, along with the tumor.
I called upon my friends at the T.J. Martell Foundation, and they helped my wife and me schedule an appointment at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. My surgery was scheduled, and because Vanderbilt is cutting edge, they offered the option of a partial Nephrectomy instead of the removal of my entire kidney. The tumor was removed, and my life was saved.
The dollars that the T.J. Martell Foundation provides for cancer research are worth so much because this cutting-edge treatment saved my life. I will be forever indebted to the folks that met us at the door, the people that helped arrange everything, the people that came by to see us, and the prayers that were received and answered. I look forward to serving another term on the T.J. Martell Foundation's board and promise to work diligently so the Foundation can continue the magnificent work it does.