PHOENIX -- A Valley man struggled with a potentially deadly condition for decades, but the one person who could take his pain away was a lot closer than he could have ever imagined.
“Sometimes I would be feeling good, I could run and play with all the kids,” Ronald Coleman said. “And then at the end of sixth grade still doing good and then the seventh grade came around and I got real sick.”
Coleman's young life was about to change.
“Down the road, they [doctors] always said eventually the kidney was going to deteriorate until I would need a transplant,” Coleman said.
He lived life as normal as possible.
“So you can go out there and if you think you’re strong enough to play sports, don't use this as a crutch, go out and do the best you can do in life,” Coleman continued.
But after more than 40 years of battling his kidney problems, he finally needed a transplant. Coleman went on dialysis last April.
"I always told him when we first got together, if I could do something I would,” said Coleman’s wife, Laurie. “I would give you a kidney.”
And that's exactly what she did.
"I got up one morning and I couldn't get up and she looked at me and said, ‘I'm calling and I'm going to see if I can get tested,’” Coleman said.
His wife was a match. The person who had been by his side for 27 years was about to give him a second chance at life.
"I was glad,” Laurie said. “And when it got closer I got scared, but I was glad and happy.”
Coleman had his kidney transplant at the Mayo Clinic hospital in September.
“He's getting back to normal, like when we first met,” Laurie said.
"I tell my doctors, 'I want to do more sit-ups and push-ups,'” Coleman said. “They look at me and I say, 'I know it's early, I'll be patient.'"
Not for too long, though. Coleman said he's ready to get back to being more active with his family and grandkids.
"I said yeah, get in shape, we got a couple of races,” Coleman said.
But for those who are still waiting for a new kidney, Coleman has some advice.
“Just keep enjoying life,” Coleman said. “Keep that hope up, keep that praise up and it will come.”