- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) - Marcus McCain went through a life-altering procedure recently.

Coach McCain, as he’s known in the Mountain Home community, received a kidney from a living donor. The donor, a Twin Lakes Area resident, is actually a close friend of McCain’s. Brent Williams learned last month he was compatible for the organ transplant. McCain and Williams are currently at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, recovering from the surgery.

“It’s just exciting,” McCain said Thursday before the surgery. “It’s exciting to know that somebody is obedient to God when he lays something on their heart and just not even think about it.”

McCain is a physical education teacher at Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary, the 7th grade football coach and a coach for the high school swim team. Williams is a first-year teacher at Cotter schools. The two met through First Assembly of God in Mountain Home and have known each other for at least 12 years. Lately, McCain hasn’t been very active because he’s been coping with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disease he was diagnosed with March 2014.

The National Kidney Foundation explains that IgA nephropathy is a common form of glomerulonephritis, a disease that damages the tiny filtering units of the kidney, called glomeruli. The damage caused by IgA nephropathy results from abnormal deposits of a protein called “IgA” in the glomeruli.

The disease affects the kidney’s ability to filter toxic waste products from the blood. He recently had surgery in September to cope with the condition. The disease worsened around Labor Day weekend. McCain says he wasn’t sure if he would make it back then.

“I really shouldn’t have been here,” McCain said, talking about the illness earlier this year.

In October, when McCain was able to return to work at the elementary, he indicated a eventual need for a kidney transplant. At the time, McCain’s treatment included daily peritoneal dialysis at home and treatment at the Renal Center of Mountain Home. He said he started feeling sick again in the fall when a leakage was found. For some time, McCain says he was going through hemodialysis, a more aggressive treatment.

Now, McCain has met his match, just in time for Christmas.

“I knew he had some kidney problems at first for a year or two, but I didn’t realize it was that bad,” Williams, 36, explained Friday. “We had learned that he needed a kidney. Me and my wife were both surprised about it. We both talked about it. If he needs a kidney, we’re both fairly healthy. We would like to donate, to help out. If you’d like to help somebody, you should.”

Both Williams and his wife called a woman in Little Rock to find out if either of them could be a potential donor. Williams’ tests came back as a match. He shared the news to McCain through a text. The coach was ecstatic.

“I didn’t know that he was the donor at the time when I got the text. I texted him back and asked what he was talking about,” McCain explained, noting that Williams asked his thoughts about a kidney transplant set for Dec. 22. “I was like, ‘Sweet, let’s do it.’”

First Assembly of God posted updates to its Facebook page Tuesday on the surgery. By noon on Tuesday, the church posted that both McCain and Williams were out of surgery and were doing well. McCain said last week that the operation lasted around three to four hours. Both their families were also visiting them Tuesday at the hospital. Kristie McCain, the coach’s wife, confirmed that the surgeries went smoothly and both men are expected to be in the hospital through Christmas.

“First, I want to thank God. I have truly seen where He has opened the door for everything, from the first day when this started. I want to thank everybody who was obedient enough to call down to try to be a donor, just numerous people,” he said, including the Mountain Home School District, students, staff, athletic teams, friends and even people he says he’s never met who reached out to help. McCain also thanked the Renal Center in Mountain Home and Baptist Health for their care.

A GoFundMe account,created by McCain’s friends to help pay for medical expenses, collected more than $5,000 in the past two months. The community also raised money for Coach McCain through fundraisers and at least one Family Fun Day event.

“After the surgery, of course, there will probably be a little recovery time on that. I will have to go back to meet with the surgeon,” McCain said, “but I plan on, if he releases me to go back to work, I plan on going back to work and try to live a normal life as possible, and just take advantage of this second chance because I’ve been given a second chance.”

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Information from: The Baxter Bulletin, https://www.baxterbulletin.com


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