Tissue recipient Kenneth Williams suffered for nearly 20 years with debilitating back pain from an old weight lifting injury. The 57-year-old retired aircraft engineer has battled degenerative disk disease in his back, leaving him unable to brush his teeth, comb his hair, or roll over in bed without pain. “It was like someone had a chisel in my back and was constantly hitting it with a hammer,” said Kenneth who lives in Southern California.
Due to the gift he received from organ and tissue donor, Jason Ray, Kenneth now lives pain free. Jason was the University of North Carolina’s basketball team mascot. He was killed when he was struck by a car in New Jersey in March of 2007 while attending a basketball tournament. Kenneth required a surgical procedure on his back that required donated tissue. “Jason’s spirit lives on through people like me,” stated the father of five and grandfather of six.
Simple tasks like driving, sitting or standing for more than 15 minutes at a time, traveling on an airplane, and taking walks on the beach with his wife are now possible without pain for Kenneth. “I have my life back. My wife can tell you, I became withdrawn due to my pain. Now she says I’m back to the way I used to be.”
When friends and family hear Kenneth’s story, they think about becoming donors too. “So many people I know are now considering donation because they see the way I was helped by it.”