Playing "The Waiting Game"; Organ donation in SC

Henri's players call him an inspiration. / Whitney Gramling

Henri Parker spends two to three hours a day, five days a week on dialysis. He's done that for the past eight years while he waits on his second kidney transplant.

"Most people will tell you when they leave dialysis, they are drained. They have to get driven to dialysis. They have to get taken by ambulance. They're drained. They sit home. They literally take the disability effects of it. With all honesty, that's true. That's what dialysis is supposed to do. It literally drains you. But for me, I've always felt, you know what, instead of sitting here thinking about all the negative things that are going on, thinking of all the negative things that I can't do, I learned to refocus my mind, change my thoughts pattern. Say, you know what, it's not about the things I can't do, let's find the things I can do and put it to work."

This JV Boys Basketball coach, author, and youth minister, who has his PhD, certainly doesn't let his illness get in his way.

When asked how he does it all, Henri replied, "God, faith. Simple as that. My mentality simply is, and I've always been this way, anyone that puts a challenge in front of me, I'm willing to take on a challenge."

He and his wife Samantha are on MUSC's shared kidney program waiting list. Because she doesn't match him, if another couple comes in who don't match each other either, but that donor matches Henri, that donor will give a kidney to Henri, and Samantha will give to that person in need.

Henri suffers from a genetic kidney disease. There are many reasons people's kidneys fail, and they need a transplant. Hypertension and diabetes can lead to kidney failure. They are prevalent in South Carolina. In fact, one in eight South Carolinians has chronic kidney disease.

Of the nearly 1,000 people on South Carolina's organ transplant waiting list, almost 90 percent of them need a kidney.

You can help by joining the South Carolina Organ Donation Registry. One donor has the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and improve the lives of 50 or more through tissue donation.

There are many reasons people give for not wanting to be a donor. To clear up some of those, go to the myths and misconceptions page of the registry website. It's easy to tell if you're a registered donor in South Carolina. If your drivers license has a heart with a circle around it on the front, you're on the registry. If the heart doesn't have a circle around it, you have joined the registry that started in 2008.

To get your name on the registry, you just have to fill out a simple online form. Transplants aren't cheap. There's a fund set up to help with some of Henri's medical costs.

Donations can be made to:

Household of Faith Church

c/o Henri Parker Kidney Fund

PO Box 886

Loris, SC 29569