Redcoat Friends Forever
On August 20th Redcoat alum Danny Newton (trumpet 1986-1989) donated a kidney to his friend and Redcoat alum Randy Nichols (trumpet 1985-1990). Here is their story--written by Danny Newton; edited by Randy Nichols.
"We met our first day at UGA. I didn't march my first year and so I didn't know any of the Redcoats at the time. My first class was English, and the teacher asked each student to stand and tell the class the one thing we'd save if our house was burning down. One student (Kevin Sheridan, Trumpet 85-88) stood and said he'd save his trumpet...later I stood and said the same. We talked after class and hit it off immediately. I invited him back to my dorm room later after class for leftover pizza. A few classes later the same day I had concert band class. I sat next to a trumpet player (Randy) who had nearly the same make/style of trumpet as mine. We struck up a conversation and hit it off as well. Like Kevin, I invited him for leftover pizza. Little did I know, Kevin and Randy were roommates. We shared a laugh over the coincidence and have been the greatest of friends ever sense.
Fast forward 36 years later...Randy is in renal failure in need of a new kidney. He was diagnosed IgA nephropathy sometime after college and his kidney function has gotten worse over time...and last year was told he would need a new kidney. It's been quite a journey for Randy. During the evaluation for the transplant, it was discovered that he had a leaky heart valve and would have to undergo heart surgery before he would be able to get the kidney transplant. He had successful heart surgery (a cow valve - Eat More Chicken!!) in December of 2020. During this time, no donors had stepped forward, so I decided to see if I was compatible. As luck would have it all the tests came back positive. Randy is currently on dialysis and is doing well with the process but looking forward to the transplant. We are scheduled for surgery 8/20.
I feel very blessed to be able to help my best friend in his time of need...and grateful I'm healthy enough to do so. We laughed at being told during Redcoat orientation by Roger Dancz that you might marry someone in this room...but never dreamed I'd donate an organ to a Redcoat! I believe God is working a great story through this."
UPDATE September 4th--"We are both doing very well. Randy's kidney function is back to were it was when we were 17. I'm well enough, I'm going to the Dawgs game tonight, woof!!!"
Thank you Randy and Danny for sharing this wonderful story!