Wake Forest’s Tom Walter Talks with LBS About Donating Kidney to Kevin Jordan

A little over two months ago we told you about Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter who donated a kidney to his player, Kevin Jordan. We were stunned by the generosity behind the move and the decision for Coach Walter to give up an important organ for a player he hardly knew.

Ever since donating his kidney, Coach Walter has been helping to raise awareness for kidney disease and organ donation. He says he’s feeling great and that Kevin is progressing well in his recovery. We had a chance to speak with Coach Walter on behalf of National Donation Life Month and we encourage you to visit www.kidney.org for more information on organ donation.

Our conversation with the heroic Coach Walter follows.

LBS: How has your life changed since you donated the kidney to Kevin?

TW: Well it’s certainly changed in terms of recognition. People are still sending emails and letters and calling, which has been great. Often times they share their stories of how organ donation has affected their lives in a positive manner, so that’s been an unexpected but very nice side effect to all this.

And then personally I’m more aware of organ donation as a whole and the need to increase awareness. My desire to be involved has grown exponentially.

LBS: Do you think it’s changed the team at all, like in a way that it brought people together more?

TW: We were a pretty close-knit group before this, but if anything, it made us more aware of the value of sacrificing for one another.

LBS: How is your recover coming along since the surgery?

TW: Everything has been pretty seamless. I’m back to exercising, my diet hasn’t changed, I’m not on any medication, so I’d say I’m 100% back to normal.

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Wake Forest Coach Tom Walter Donates Kidney to Player Kevin Jordan

People don’t donate vital bodily organs to garner headlines, but Tom Walter will receive them for his courageous and selfless act. The Wake Forest baseball coach donated one of his kidneys to Kevin Jordan Monday, a recruit who was set to begin his freshman season for the Demon Deacons.

Jordan first got sick in January of 2010, two months after he committed to play ball for Wake Forest. In April, Jordan was diagnosed with Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, “a rare condition in which abnormal antibodies attack white blood cells and damage small blood vessels.” He still enrolled at Wake despite having to be hooked up to “dialysis 18 to 20 hours a day through a catheter in his stomach.”

With only about 8% function in his kidneys, Jordan withdrew from the Spring semester of school and was hoping for a transplant. Nobody from his family was a match when screened for a kidney, so coach Tom Walter volunteered to get tested. He turned out to be a match and then had to decide if he would make the courageous move of donating his kidney.

After some soul searching, Walter decided to donate the kidney. He said that watching Kevin show up on campus despite his illness motivated him to do what he did.

Jordan, who was a 19th-round pick by the Yankees in last year’s draft, is recovering, as is Walter. Jordan plans to enroll in summer school in June.

Here’s hoping he’s well enough to do so, and that Walter is able to be near full-strength for his team’s season opener on February 18th.

For more on the story, read here, here, or here.