Something we may not think about often is how human these athletes and coaches are when you get to know them. We learn the story of a local tennis coach's selfless-act that saved the life of someone he didn't even know...in case you don't know him yet, be honored to hear Kai Fong's amazing story.
Lewis-Clark State Head Tennis Coach Kai Fong has a sharp mind, a heart of gold, and now, just one kidney after donating one of his to someone in need.
"This started with Monica," said Fong. "I heard about Monica, one of our co-workers here on campus. I heard she was in need of a kidney transplant. I think just overnight I just thought maybe this is something I could do to help her out and I'm glad that she consented to that."
Upon hearing that fellow co-worker Monika Pande needed a kidney transplant, Kai unselfishly decided to donate one of his kidney's hoping that it could help his friend and colleague. Unfortunately, he found out that he wasn't a match for Monika, but went ahead with the operation anyway.
"It would have been for her, cause if I could have donated to someone and someone else could have donated to her, she will benefit indirectly, and that's the kidney swap," said Fong.
When a match was found for his kidney, he didn't necessarily care to meet the recipient.
"When I first went into this, I just wanted to be one of these anonymous things just do it and leave it and that's it I'm done," said Fong.
After the surgery, he changed his mind.
"She was just a few doors down in the hospital and I'm so glad I did," said Fong.
Georgia resident Phyllis Anderson became someone who Kai quickly felt close with.
"For me and I think for her it was kinda like meeting a long lost brother or sister that you've never met," said Fong. "And it's nerve wracking, you don't know what they're going to say, how they're going to react, it was thrilling."
After Phyllis received her new kidney, her husband, Steve, donated one of his kidney's to a stranger in need, hence starting a kidney chain that went through an amazing eleven people. Kai shared his story with hopes of influencing others to potentially become a donor themselves.
"It's very safe, It's just scary to give away an organ," said Fong. "But it's safe, I'm gonna be, I'll tell you, I'm the most conservative person. I don't want to do anything to harm myself cause I'm active. It hasn't hampered my activities, it hasn't hampered anything that I've done."
As for the reason Kai even considered donating a kidney in the first place, he updates on his friend Monika Pande.
"Two years after we got into this database, she finally got her kidney in June of 2012, and that was just the best news," said Fong.
Though there are many websites you can search for if you'd like to learn more information on kidney donations, kidney-registration-dot-org and paired-donation-dot-org are two highly recommended sites.
We can't thank Kai Fong enough for sharing his story with us as he tries to raise awareness for kidney donations.