A Central Texas band director who is battling stage five renal failure is in need of a transplant after his remaining kidney is only partially functioning.
Scott Stulir who is the Waco High School head band director went to the hospital last summer anticipating his diagnosis wouldn't be serious. However, he recalls doctors found a mass in one of his kidneys, which required the removal of that organ.
"They got rid of what was cancerous on the one,” Stulir said. “Things didn't go like they should have and now I have one kidney. It’s only functioning at about 12 percent,” Stulir said.
Stulir recalls he had one week of recovery before starting band camp.
“The doctor said you are was nuts, you can’t do that. [I said] ‘Kids are here, I have to,’” Stulir said.
Stulir who has been at Waco High School for 11 years is passionate about sharing his love for music with his students.
“The thing I like the most about doing this job is being able to take everything that I learned in the professional music business where people are getting paid millions of dollars all the time and trying to transfer that to the kids so they understand the level they need to play at, if they want to do that as a career,” Stulir said.
The 54-year-old said he started playing the drums since he was 3-years-old.
“Music is a universal language,” Stulir said. “It doesn’t matter what country you are in, if you play, you can communicate with someone else without saying a word.”
Grace Ates who is a member of the Varsity Band said she is grateful for having him as a teacher.
"If it wasn't for Mr. Stulir, I don't think I would be as good as I'm right now,” Stulir said. “He is such a great man. He has done so many things, not just for our band but in his life."
Stulir cherishes his life more than ever after describing having a tough fall due to being on stage five renal failure.
"You're fatigued, you are tired. My back hurts constantly,” Stulir said.
Stulir has continued working and now he is searching for an O+ kidney donor.
"It's the difference between life or death,” Stulir said. “What I'm looking for the ability to keep doing this. This is what I want to do."
His wife, Kittie said she hoped someone could give him the gift of life.
"Every minute of our lives is a sharing with these kids. If someone could share the part of their life with him. It would mean the world to us,” Kittie Stulir said.
Kittie and Scott met in college because both of them belonged to the marching band. The breast cancer survivor wants her husband to be able to continue sharing his gift of music with others.
"It's not just his world, it's not just our world together, and it’s the kids' world. Everything he can share with them will continue and he will continue to give to the world,” Kittie Stulir said.
Transplant Nephrologist at Baylor Scott & White Dr. Caroline Johnson said a renal transplant is the best option for patients who are on stage five chronic kidney disease.
“The ideal situation would be to offer a renal transplant prior to the need to start dialysis. With stage V, most often dialysis is inevitable. When exactly to start dialysis is an extremely important decision that is best made with the patient and nephrologist,” Dr. Johnson said.
She added that mortality on dialysis can be as high as having certain types of cancer.
“Of patients who have diabetes and are on dialysis, only half of them will still be alive after five years. If the patient gets a renal transplant, the patient can live twice as long than if they stayed on dialysis,” Johnson said.
Scott Stulir said his doctor said dialysis would be the last option. He said if it is necessary, it would serve as a temporary measure until he can get a live kidney donor.
For information regarding the living kidney donation process, click here.
If you are O+ and you want to get more information on how to become a donor for Scott Stulir, you can contact the family via email at StulirStrong@gmail.com.
To help the family with financial expenses, click here.
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