- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Pryor Middle School’s baseball team is in the midst of a five-game winning streak. But, for now, they’ll have to carry on without Coach Cuong Lewis.

He’s heading to Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday where he’ll receive a kidney transplant from his younger sister, Sherri Ly.

Lewis, 44, was stunned in November when doctors told him he was in kidney failure because there is no family history. His twin sisters were tested for donor compatibility. Ly, a broadcast journalist in Washington, D.C, was found to be the best match.

“I’m going to get a kidney, but it’s breaking my heart to leave these kids,” Lewis told The Northwest Florida Daily News (http://bit.ly/1gBPrvY ). “It’s something I’ve got to do.”

Lewis works two jobs and is involved in youth sports programs.

He and his wife are leaving their three children - who are between 10 and 19 - with relatives in Fort Walton Beach while they spend the next month to six weeks in Birmingham.

“It’s hitting me today emotionally realizing I’m going to be without them,” he said of his children. “They’re my heart and soul. But I’ve got to take care of this if I’m going to be able to take care of them in the future.”

His sister said she never had a second thought when she learned she was a match.

“He needs it to save his life,” said Ly, who works for WTTG-TV, a Fox affiliate, and plans to document the journey on Facebook and Twitter. “I’m healthy. If I can be a match, there’s no question in my mind that I would do it.”

Ly’s husband and two children will be with her in Birmingham.

She calls her brother an amazing man who gives to the community.

“He loves every kid he coaches,” she said.

Lewis helped start the Fort Walton Beach Sports Youth Association to help children whose parents can’t afford sports fees or uniforms.

“That’s just the type of person Cuong is,” said Jeff Peters, a friend and fellow coach. “He’s just looking out for other people.”

As for the Pryor Middle School Pirates, Lewis will cheer them on from Alabama.


Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), http://www.nwfdailynews.com



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