Radio is life for Gary Young, an on-air personality with Kiss 104.1.
Young has been broadcasting and programming at radio stations from Philadelphia to Milwaukee to Jacksonville for the past 35 years, but he almost lost his livelihood, and his life, as a result of kidney disease.
“At the time, I was having really bad headaches and decided to walk into a clinic. They saw the top number of my blood pressure and didn’t even bother with the bottom number,” Young said. “They were asking how I was even able to walk in there.”
When doctors were finally able to control his blood pressure, it was too late. Young was told that he would eventually need a kidney transplant due to kidney damage and the onset of chronic kidney disease.
“That was shocking,” he said. “It was something I never thought would happen to me and I didn’t even know much about it even though I lost my mother to renal failure.”
A year after his diagnosis, Young was told that he needed to go one dialysis — his kidneys had failed. Luckily, his daughter, Kelly, was a willing and compatible donor. As if to underline the special connection, the transplant happened on Father’s Day weekend, 2009.
“I felt so blessed,” he said. “She was so excited to do it. She just kept saying how much she wanted to do it, and how much she loved her dad. It was the best gift a father could receive.”
Now Young is trying to spread the word about kidney disease and its risk factors. As part of that effort he is joining with the National Kidney Foundation to for the Atlanta Kidney Walk. Young will be participating along with friends, family and co-workers from Cox Media Group.
“Going through this and having a transplant, I really wanted to find a way to give back,” he said. “This is this first way I can do that.”