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steve winfree

Baseball Card Holds Answer to Sport Management Graduate’s Dream


Steve Winfree, a.k.a. the Knoxville Kidney Guy, received the news that his greatest dream was about to come true.  He was in line to receive a donor kidney from none other than his wife.

Steve, a 2007 graduate of the Sports Management program in Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies, has been battling chronic kidney disease for fourteen years, along with gout and Type 1 Diabetes.  He has been on the transplant list since his diagnosis following a routine pre-season physical to play college basketball in 2003.  Steve’s alarming blood pressure reading led to a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease. His three combined diseases make him one of the most distinct cases in the world.  Balancing the kidney disease and an allergy to the only medication which would relieve his gout, Steve began dialysis as a last resort until a kidney transplant could be found.

And who else but his loving wife, Heather, held the answer to his dream.  After being tested as a possible match, the touching reveal of her results leaves Steve in tears.

The College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences wishes you the best of luck and a successful transplant Steve.  We will have you in our thoughts as well as your wife, Heather, during this next step in your battle against kidney disease. Follow Steve’s story on Twitter @Steve_Winfree as he shares his story and to raise awareness about organ donation.  You may also learn more about Steve’s journey on his blog and how he has turned his battle into a way to encourage other chronic disease patients.