Monday, May 2, 2016

Kidney Head

I think most of you know by now that I live in Tupelo, MS. Well last weekend it was an absolutely beautiful day and I decided to head downtown. It was just a random decision I made to get out of the house. I've lived here all my life but have rarely been downtown to get out for the day. They've also recently done a lot of improvements for crosswalks and curb cuts to make it a lot easier to get around in my wheelchair. The city is kind of out in front about improving the sidewalks recently and making the city much more accessible. Anyways, I just wanted to point out that I rarely am downtown. But there seemed to be a good reason for me to get out this day. I was rolling down the sidewalk when a young guy approached me with a sticker in his hand. It was a custom sticker that was red and white of a bear's face. But the left eye was covered with a shape of a kidney. He just told me he wanted me to have one and read the back of it that talked about a foundation he started. His mom just told me that they wanted me to have one and we went our separate ways.

So they walk off and I start reading the back of this sticker and I'm shocked. In case you can't read from the picture I will post what it says in quotations. Kidney Head- "Bryson Burks' father lost his battle with kidney disease after being diagnosed with the rare blood disease atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS). While in the clinic for his father's dialysis, Bryson learned kids were undergoing the same grueling treatments. Kidney Head is a foundation that helps the families of children on dialysis- making their everyday lives easier in order to focus on their unique health issues.

Isaiah 41:10

So I read this and thought about how terrible it would be to lose your father at a young age.  At the same time I thought how incredible it was for this young man to turn such a tragedy into a positive.  I thought to myself that I wish I would've talked or learned a little more about the situation before rolling away.  Then I got my opportunity.  We had went from downtown all the way to the new courthouse and started our way back to our vehicle.  Then I saw him and his mom coming out of a store.  We started talking again and I wanted to tell him that I thought it was incredible what he was doing.  His mom started to explain a lot more about the situation.  She said that everything had hit them suddenly when they found out the news and were not prepared.  She said Bryson would stay with his dad while he was going through dialysis which lasts several hours.  I believe she said that a certain group raised money to give Bryson an iPad to have something to do while he waited with his dad during dialysis. Like it states above, while he was there he noticed there were kids going through the same treatment as his dad.  So after his dad passed away, he decided to start this organization kidney head.

He said that his dad was a Grateful Dead fan and that inspired the name of the organization.  If you're not aware, Grateful Dead fans were also known as deadheads.  They were also linked to dancing bears with all kinds of different colors.  So that is the story behind the name Kidney Head and the bear with the kidney over the eye. So the goal of the organization is to raise money for children on dialysis.  They told me the money can go to anything that the child or their family may be needing at the time. Medical expenses can be so expensive and such a burden on a family especially when this happens unexpectedly. So I just wanted to write a blog to share their story and this organization.  It was very inspiring to me and I hope maybe that it helps spread the word.  There are still good people in this world.  There are also people suffering that we never see or know about.  So I hope this helps spread awareness and maybe somebody will be compelled to donate. I taped one of these stickers to the front door of Our Artworks to show support. So I'm glad Bryson gave me the sticker.  He also never asked for a donation, but just simply wanted me to have one. He just wants people to know the story.

One last thing to add to this story.  This is a great reason to get out and be a part of your community.  You never know who you're going to meet or what you might be missing out on.  You just might miss an opportunity to meet somebody very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this blog.  I know it made my day meeting somebody overcoming something tragic in their lives.  It inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing.

And make sure to check out the website