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Central Texas News Now story helps man find living kidney donor: Meet the recipient

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 11:43:28-04

TEMPLE, TX — Central Texas News Now has been following the story of a former Temple High School football player in need of a kidney. It turns out, less than a year later, Joiner has received some life-changing news.

Who is Darius Joiner?

Joiner started 21 games as an offensive lineman at Temple High School.

"I've been playing football since I was four or five years old. That's the only thing I knew, and I wanted to continue doing that until I was not able to do it anymore," said Joiner.

He had hopes of playing for the NFL after college, but the former Temple High School football player's career was sidelined when doctors found he was retaining water in his legs.

What is wrong with his kidneys?

Joiner has stage five kidney failure.

"Well, his kidneys failed from a combination of high blood pressure and an inherited disease called FSGS... Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, and it can sneak up on you very quickly and cause renal failure in otherwise healthy people, so it's kind of scary," said Dr. Steven Potter, transplant sergeant at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Temple.

As the hours of treatment turned into days, weeks and months, Joiner realized the only way his life would be spared was through a kidney donation.

When does he need a transplant?

Joiner needs a living donor whose blood type is compatible with his O positive blood type. And he needs to find his match as soon as possible.

"Darius has kidney failure and needs a transplant. And he has a blood type that will mean he has a long time to wait for a deceased donor kidney," said Potter.

Where will this transplant take place?

When we aired Joiner's story last year in November, more than 100 people called the Baylor Scott and White transplant program and applied to be living kidney donors in hopes that they could help him out.

Finally, after months of praying and waiting, it just so happens, a woman in Bell County who saw his story, Patty Caldwell, is what doctors are calling "a fantastic match."
The transplant is scheduled for July 2 at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Temple.

Why does he need this transplant as soon as possible?

"Since this whole incident, I stopped going to school, work. Pretty much my whole normal life, I gave it up, just to get myself right with this treatment," said Joiner.

"For Darius to get a new kidney, it would mean that everything will go back to normal. The way it once was you know. It's, ever since he began dialysis, you know it's been a struggle for all of us you know not only financially but mentally and physically," said Jessica Moreno, Joiner's long-term girlfriend and mother of his two children.