Men who shared prep coaching work now share kidney
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Bill Hertle and John Tryon share much more than years together as assistant high school football coaches for Bloomfield Hills Lahser, now that Hertle has given Tryon one of his kidneys.
Both men played football at the suburban Detroit school. They were hired as assistants when Dan Loria began putting together his first staff at Lahser in 2001. Tryon no longer coaches there but remains a regular at football events.
"It's very cool and they come off the background of teamwork being football coaches," said Dr. Jason Denny, a transplant doctor for the procedure and a former all-state quarterback at Holy Trinity High School in New York. "Me playing football myself, you understand that the contribution to the group is often greater than what you can get for yourself."
The transplant surgery was done May 10 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Hertle, 50, lost his kidney function because of disease. His own father died at 51 of kidney disease. Hertle was on dialysis for about two years and said he hated it.
"Let me put it this way," Hertle said. "The first time they hooked me up I told them to unhook me, I was getting up and leaving. It's a lifestyle change — four hours squat in a chair with a fistula in my arm so I had to keep the one arm straight and I had a blood pressure cup on the other. It's uncomfortable and it's a four-hour run.
"I could live another 25 years on dialysis, but I wouldn't want to."
Hertle said he has respect for anyone willing to consider giving an organ. They include his wife, who turned out to be a match for him.
"At the 11th hour they canceled her out because she had kidney stones and other issues that excluded her from being a donor," he said.
That was when Tryon stepped forward.
"I was originally planning on getting tested, but I heard Sue matched so I stopped and didn't follow through," said Tryon, 53. "When I found out that fell through, I thought it through quickly and started going through the process. It takes a long time."
Tryon said he doesn't worry that his own health might be at risk should something happen to his remaining kidney.
"I believe God takes care of me," he said. "Because of that I can focus on other people. This is just the epitome of that belief system."