Former Wapello player helping raise awareness for Organ Donor program

THE HAWKEYE | Matt Levins
Jeremy Johnson in blue
DES MOINES — Jeremy Johnson is not one to ask much in life, but he desperately needs a kidney, and soon.

Johnson, a member of the 1994 Wapello High School boys basketball team which qualified for the state tournament, lives in Indianola these days, where he is the Director of Admissions for Simpson College.

Johnson, one of the key players on the Indians’ team which was the first to qualify for state in school history, is spending time at Wells Fargo Arena this week, cheering on his alma mater in their first trip to state in 24 years. And he is helping raise awareness for Organ Donor Transplants, a cause he has become involved with since his first kidney transplant in 1997.

And this year’s Wapello boys basketball team has gotten involved in the cause. After a home game against Highland last month, alumni came back from all parts of the country for a dinner and fundraiser to help Johnson, who undergoes kidney dialysis three times a week. And the players from this year’s Wapello team got to sit down side by side with members of that 1994 team to talk a little basketball, eat a little food and help a good cause.

“Coach (Ken) Spielbauer wanted the alumni to come back to help raise awareness for the Organ Donor Transplant program, so he put together a little fundraiser for me,” Johnson said. “Assistant coach David Griffin organized the whole thing. Coach Spielbauer said he wanted to do something for me. I wasn’t able to make it back for that night because I had dialysis , but I made sure I made it back for their substate game.” Continue reading

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