DETROIT (WJBK) - Terry Irby's big plans were derailed last fall when he was hospitalized following a sports physical. He had a serious health condition attacking his kidneys and got the miracle he needed: a kidney.
We first told the high school student's story last fall. His grades had started to slip in 2017 because he was always tired, but he had no idea it was a sign he needed a kidney. The family learned the devastating news after completing a physical to play football for Cass Tech High School.
Last fall he got the call he needed when he was attending a funeral for the man he describes as his adopted father. His mom, Zee Granberry, was also at the funeral and received the notification they had been praying for: he was a match.
When Fox 2 first met the Cass Tech High School football player last September, he was in need of a kidney and undergoing dialysis just to stay alive
He was in need of the kidney and had been undergoing dialysis to stay alive.
"It was a tough two years especially with dialysis," Terry said.
Shortly after receiving notification about the donor match Terry and his mom left the funeral and arrived at Children's Hospital for the surgery
"Woke up the next morning and everything was going good," Terry said. "Now I have a lot more time to do the things I love to do."
Terry says he doesn't know much about hsi donor except that they were brain dead. He wants the family to know he's grateful.
"Thank you so much. Sorry for your loss and that it had to be received this way but it is appreciated. That one life saved many lives
Out of a sense of gratitude, Irby is working to increase awareness about organ donations
"I'm getting a team together for the life walk July 28 at Belle isle. It would be great if a lot of people come out, come support, because it really helps with organ donation."
Irby says he still faces some challenges, like the reality that his grades slipped because of his illness, that his family still has to come up with money for his medications, and that he won't be able to play football again.
"My kidney isn't protected by any other muscle like other people's kidneys are. Due to that, if I take any hits, this kidney is ruined and I'm back in the same situation," he said.
But Terry says he's not discouraged instead he's inspired and hopes to share his story locally but across the globe so others will sign up to be an organ donor
"A lot of people don't know how it can really help and feel like it's a waste, but it's not. It can really help save a lot of lives."
There's a GoFundMe set up to help Irby. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
To learn more about organ donation, go to Detroit MOTTEP Foundation or Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program Foundation.