Saturday, December 18, 2004

Where are they now - Greg Gathers

Greg Gathers will undergo a kidney transplant, with the donated kidney coming from his mother.

"What better [Christmas] gift could you get than a family member donating an organ to you so you can live?" said Gathers, by phone from LaPlace, La., where he is staying with his parents. "It's priceless. Nothing I've done in my life compares to this right here right now. . . . This is a big sacrifice for her. At times, I get caught up in the emotion. I'm just thankful I have a mother like her."

Note to recruits: do not underestimate the value of an education, no matter how good at football you think you are:

Gathers graduated from Tech last spring with a degree in management and a minor in accounting. He took a job in Houston as a supervisor at a trucking company, but when his kidney deteriorated, he took medical leave to start dialysis.

In the meantime, he served as a volunteer coach for his former high school football team.

"It occupied my time so I was not constantly thinking about what I was going through," Gathers said. "A lot of [the players] feel bad for me, but I tell them, 'Don't.' Life is not always going to be gravy. It's not how you respond when things are good, it's how you respond when things are bad."

It sounds like the medical costs are going to be a challenge for the family. I wonder if GT would setup some type of donation fund for him?

The Gathers are facing steep medical costs. His insurance covers only up to 75 percent of the surgery, which costs $50,000-$100,000. But for now, Gathers is trying to focus on taking care of his health.

We wish Greg the best. A heartwarming story. No doubt Greg Gathers represents the heart and spirit of the Georgia Tech student and athlete.