Ex-Lane Tech Football Star Clings To Life Waiting For Kidney Transplant

DNA INFO | Justin Breen
Marshall Cheatham   Photo provided
CHICAGO — Marshall Cheatham prays every day for a second chance.

The Near West Side native and former football star at Lane Tech has end-stage renal failure. For the past three years and three months, the 56-year-old has been on a waiting list for a new kidney. His kidneys are not functioning and the dialysis Cheatham receives three times a week for five hours at a time is keeping him alive.

"Prior to this I was relatively healthy and had no idea that I was even sick," said Cheatham, who played football at Vanderbilt and for the past 14 years has run a nonprofit called The Saints Drumline, which provides musical instructions to disadvantaged children.

Cheatham, of Columbus, Ohio, is a speaker for Lifeline of Ohio, a group that tries to bring awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. He originally had been involved with Lifeline of Ohio because The Saints Drumline drum and bugle corps would kick off the organization's "Annual Dash for Donation" event.

"Little did I know that I would be needing their services after a couple years," Cheatham said. "Sometimes 10 to 20 people can receive the second chance on life just because a person checked that box on their drivers license for organ donation. I may sound morbid, but you can't take them with you when you are gone, so why not help someone else that is struggling with health challenges have a second chance." Continue reading
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