By Cheri Felix
303 family! I have a friend. Actually, he’s one of those guys that is a friend to many. I’m betting that he makes everyone feel like he’s their best friend. He has a way of shining a light so bright that when you’re with him, you feel special. So here’s my pitch; we’re looking for a kidney for him. Here is a letter from him to me and to you. I was going to write an article but this is so much better.
My first involvement in Colorado cycling was primarily mountain biking and MTB racing. I managed to get hurt pretty badly and moved on to Time Trials. Then, missing dirt, cyclocross. I was terrible at cyclocross, so I attended a clinic put on by Brandon Dwight, with Greg Keller. After smashing through a couple of sets of barriers, and trying to put them back together, Greg came up and said ” I’ll put them back together, you just practice.” I thought that was really nice of him and then I started to think why should anyone have to spend time putting them back together?? We all have tight schedules, there must be a better way, and Cross Propz was born. At that same clinic, I met Amy Dombroski. I was able to be a small sponsor for Amy. Cross Propz opened the world of cycling to me (especially CX). I started doing clinics with Cross Propz, meeting all kinds of people and contributing to this great community we have of cyclists.
Here’s the kidney thing, I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. I was diagnosed in ’94. The disease has wreaked havoc in my family. My Dad and brother both died from it, my youngest brother received a kidney from my brother Will. My sister was recently tested but she is not a match for me. I’ve managed to keep this disease at bay by eating vegetarian and exercising ….a lot. It worked, or at least it slowed the disease progression. Now I’m at the point where I’m near 10% function, and starting to show symptoms (tiredness, lack of energy, shortness of breath). I notice it when I ride, things that used to be easy are much more difficult for me. I saw my doctor recently and he said it was time to look for a donor, otherwise I would be on dialysis soon. Dialysis isn’t a great option.
So, I don’t know how long I have, but I’ve known this doctor since ’96 and he knows his stuff. So I thought I would ask to see if anyone would consider becoming a donor. It took me awhile to be able to ask, it’s not an easy position to be in. For someone to be a donor, the first step is a questionnaire provide by UC Health. From what I understand it takes a few minutes to fill out and once it is submitted, someone from the hospital will be in contact and lead the person through the testing. I don’t know what all the tests are, but a friend that recently donated a kidney has offered to walk any potential donors through the process, letting them know what to expect through the whole process. I think that’s really valuable.
Since I posted the need for a kidney, I have been overwhelmed by friends and strangers reaching out. I am humbled beyond belief and frankly, have trouble not tearing up. These are people willing to sacrifice in order to save my life. I don’t know what to say, I’m totally overwhelmed.