BALTIMORE – Baseball has been Jim Duquette’s livelihood, but his focus is saving his daughter’s life.
Two weeks ago, the former Orioles vice president turned baseball analyst donated a kidney to 10-year-old-Lindsey. After a follow-up procedure Thursday, she got home just in time for Father’s Day and is doing well.
“It would be hard to top this Father’s Day gift,” says Duquette. “There is nothing better I could ever want than to have what has gone on here the past two weeks, and especially be able to celebrate Father’s Day with her.”
The surgery took place June 4 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and doctors are pleased with the girl’s recovery. For most of her life, she has been battling a rare disease that ate away at her kidneys, leaving them scarred. She was often weak and lethargic, without the energy to even go to school.
Many kids diagnosed with her condition as toddlers eventually grow out of it, but Lindsey did not. Last May, her kidneys were removed and she was put on overnight dialysis.
Duquette said she gained strength, as the toxic drugs used to battle the disease were cleansed from her blood.
“And she got her personality back,” he adds. “She said it herself – ‘I got my personality back…I am more like myself.'”
Several family members were tested as donors, but Duquette proved to be the best match.
“It was never an issue for me,” he said. “I think anyone who has been in a situation like that, we all want to be protective of our children.”
“You would do anything for them. You shield them from pain, and if it means going to that length of giving them a kidney or any organ that will make their life better, you just do it.”
But there is no guarantee the disease – focal segmental glomerulsclerosis, or FSGS – won’t attack the donated kidney. Duquette acknowledges the odds are kind of staggering. And yet, he is a baseball guy and “in baseball terms, 50-50 is pretty good odds.”