ATLANTA — Willie Blackwell is a tough man. You have to be tough to play in the National Football League.
He’s also the type of man who doesn’t ask for help, but gives help. That’s all changed now that he’s praying for a kidney donor.
Blackwell, who was a football standout at Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. His doctors told him to tell everyone that he needs a kidney transplant and don’t be shy about it.
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Blackwell is hoping he will find the match and hoping for surgery “because I want to stay alive,” he told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.
Blackwell played at Morris Brown in the 1970s and was a star linebacker. He played three seasons in the NFL before injuries cut his career short. After football he spent four decades in business, mostly in metro Atlanta. He is also an ordained minister who has always helped others.
“There are a lot of great people in the world willing to help you. They just need to know I exists. They need to know Willie needs a kidney,” Blackwell said.
He’s taken to social media and created a Facebook page to help his cause.
Doctors removed one of his kidneys 22 years ago after they found cancer. Now his other kidney is functioning at barely 20 percent. He’s been waiting two years for a suitable donor.
“One thing about being in sports is that athletes have this perseverance. A ‘don’t quit’ attitude. That’s what I love about the Atlanta Hawks. They believe. They kept pushing and did a fantastic job. I’m kind of like that too. You have to keep believing man,” Blackwell said.
Anyone willing to be tested as a possible donor for Willie Blackwell can visit piedmontlivingdonor.org to register.
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