Local coach gets kidney from unexpected donor

Local News

MARTINSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Randy Potts is a different coach than he was this time last year.

Potts coaches basketball at Spring Cove Middle School in Blair County. Three years ago, Potts was diagnosed with stage four chronic kidney disease.

“My kidney function was roughly about 9 percent,” Potts said.

Potts went on dialysis for two years and needed a transplant.

“They said it could take anywhere between five and seven years,” Potts said.

Potts says he fought hard, but some days, just wanted to give up.

“There was times where I thought there was never any hope,” Potts said. “Then Jess stepped up and gave me new life.”

Jessica Wilt met Potts after their children started dating. When she heard he needed a kidney, she thought she could help.

“I knew when he first went on the transplant lists his blood type, I knew I was the same blood type, so that got the ball rolling in my head,” Wilt said.

After getting healthy on her own, and getting tested in Pittsburgh, Wilt found out it was a match, and told Potts with a t-shirt.

“It takes somebody special to give a part of your body up, and I’m very grateful to Jess,” Potts said.

A few weeks later, the duo went in for surgery, and made the transplant official, by naming the kidney.

“I’m like ok, if we’re going to talk about it, we have to give it a name, so let’s name it Karla,” Wilt said. “Karla kidney.”

To this day, Wilt continues to check on ‘Karla.’

“When he has his appointments in Pittsburgh, his follow-ups, I’ll be like ‘how’s Karla doing today?'”

Friday marks six weeks since the procedures. Both say they’re recovering well.

“I asked him if he picked up anything yet, nothing yet, he said no,” Wilt said.

“Before she got operated on, she was running nine miles a day, trying to stay in shape, and we didn’t think anything of it,” Potts said. “Then all of a sudden, and not to bing her, but this body’s not built for speed or distance and I’m not running.”

Both of them are in good spirits.

“I have the battle scars,” Wilt said. “It’s worth it.”

Now, asking others to consider becoming a donor.

“At my discharge, he said you know you saved two lives,” Wilt said. “He said you know you saved Randy’s, but you saved somebody else because taking him off the list bumped somebody else up.”

And as the basketball season is about to start up, Potts says he’ll always make it to practice.

“They call me Papi Potts, and you know they took care of me,” he said.

Making every moment all that much sweeter.

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