Terry Irby is enjoying life after years of pain and depression.

At the age of 13, Irby, a former offensive and defensive lineman for Cass Tech’s football team, was sent down to the office during school and was told his bloodwork results were abnormal. Irby and his family rushed to the emergency room to get more bloodwork drawn and to wait for results.

“My sister met us there. Everybody was crying except me. It was kind of hard, I don’t like seeing my family cry,” Irby said.

After the doctors took Irby’s blood, they took him to get a biopsy on his kidney. There was so much damage done to the kidney, the doctors said that he was “blessed to be alive.”

The next morning Irby went into surgery to have a catheter place into his chest and was put on a dialysis to remove some of the extra fluid from his body.

The doctors put Irby on a high dose of steroids to try to pump his kidneys back up, but it did not work. After five days in the hospital the doctors told his family that he would need a kidney transplant.

Until the surgery, Irby was put on a dialysis and had a strict diet to go by, so he wouldn’t do any further damage. He had to get a fistula to remove the catheter because it can cause damage to the heart.

Two weeks after getting out of the hospital Irby was back to practice. He was upset that he couldn’t play football anymore, but he was still a part of the team.

“They are like family. Every day I help out the football team as a team manager.” Said Irby.

Irby had a dialysis three times a week for four hours a day.

Irby said, “I was on dialysis and was still going to every practice and game that I could go to even when I could barely keep my eyes open for nearly two years.”

After two years of being on dialysis Terry received a call from his transplant coordinator saying they found a match.

“I went to hospital in a three-piece suit and went into surgery and received my kidney.” Irby said. “Since then I’ve been healthy, more active and happier because I went through a minor depression while I was on dialysis. I have more freedom now and no dietary restrictions.”

After high school Irby plans to go to a community college for sports management and then plans to transfer to the University of Michigan.