Shelbyville Daily Union

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September 24, 2013

Beecher City man walks 90 miles for organ donor awareness

On Saturday organ transplant recipient Don Stuckey made a stop in Shelbyville as part of his commitment to walk 90 miles from Effingham to Springfield highlighting transplant/organ donor awareness.

Stuckey, a resident of Beecher City can speak from experience. He became concerned with excessive loss of sleep and feeling restless and jittery. A visit to the doctor for some sleeping pills led to additional tests which showed him to be near complete renal failure. Before Don had time to take it all in, he was hooked up to a dialysis machine three times a week, three-and-a-half hours each visit. After a year he was placed on the transplant waiting list.

Like most people on an organ waiting list, Stuckey figured he was in for the long haul. Finding an organ match can take several years. But while Stuckey was in for one of his dialysis visits, he received a call that a match had possibly been found. A call an hour later confirmed that the match was positive and Stuckey was unhooked from the dialysis machine and on his way to surgery. “I was very lucky,” he said. “Most people are on the waiting list for 3-5 years. I got mine after two years.”

Stuckey got the call on Friday, August 2, went in for tests, and was soon under the knife for six hours. The procedure lasted through the night and was over early Saturday morning. After a brief recovery period, Stuckey showed remarkable progress, able to leave the hospital by Wednesday afternoon and earning the unofficial title, “Rock Star of Transplant Patients” by nurses and staff.

But even before Don received his kidney, he had planned to participate in the Memorial Transplant Services 5K Run/Walk in Springfield. Last year’s event earned $9,000 toward the Transplant Patient Assistance Fund. In May, Stuckey decided to walk 90 miles from Effingham to Springfield to highlight organ donor awareness and raise additional funds. He also set up a website, www.walk90.org with progress updates and additional information. “They raised $9,000 last year and I was hoping to raise another $5,000 to go with it this year,” Stuckey said. “I would love to present a big check to the families to help with expenses.”

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