Sometime life throws you curveballs. For Jack Sperry, owner of the Hamburger Wagon he has thrived on meeting challenges head on and through hard work has typically achieved success. He is now facing a new challenge, that is out of his control.
The Food Adventures Crew has known Jack since he was a standout football player at Centerville High School in the early eighties. Jack is a supporter of Centerville and Miamisburg Schools and also helps run the Rock N Green Tomato Festival in Miamisburg, among other charitable events.
Jack is that prideful guy you know, who never asks anyone for help. As irony would have it , he was was diagnosed 15 years ago with a kidney disease called “Berger’s Syndrome.” The illness eventually damages kidney function, until the person needs a transplant. That’s where Jack is at today. His kidney function has fallen below a critical level, and dialysis and a transplant are eminent.
This is the passing along of a plea for help. A plea from a lifelong Daytonian, in his time of need. We were going to write this article and explain the situation, but his brother Hank Sperry posted a Facebook message that was a perfect reach out for help. Here it is:
“My name is Henry Sperry and I’m sending this message out on my brother’s Facebook account. I’ll get right to the point. I am looking for a hero to save my brother’s life. Please don’t turn away now. This won’t take much of your time to read. You may be the key to preserving the life of a man who is very much worth saving.
My brother is Jack Sperry. He is a beloved brother and the father of two beautiful teen-aged daughters, Alex and Emma Sperry. He is engaged to be married. He is an honorable man, a loyal friend to legions of people who are fortunate to know him. He is the proprietor of the famous Miamisburg, Ohio Hamburger Wagon.
15 years ago, Jack was diagnosed with Berger’s Syndrome (IgA Neuropathy), a kidney disease that occurs when a specific antibody lodges in one’s kidneys. THERE IS NO CURE. The disease slowly progresses over years until eventually, the kidneys cease functioning. When Jack was diagnosed, the hope was that the disease would progress so slowly that medical intervention would not be required in his lifetime.
Sadly this is not the case. His kidney function is below the critical threshold. It is time for serious medical intervention. Last fall, Jack’s local Nephrologist referred Jack to both the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University transplant centers. I am pleased to report that after thorough and comprehensive medical evaluations, Jack has been approved by both centers for organ transplant.
Jack has three options, but only one which offers the promise of a normal life expectancy. Option 1 is kidney dialysis. While this option does extend life expectancy, it is burdensome and for someone Jack’s age, the average life expectancy on dialysis is 10 years. Option 2 is a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. But the wait for such a donor can be up to 5 years. The average useful life expectancy of a deceased donor transplant is 10 – 15 years.
By far the most favorable option is the third one, live donor transplant. Live donor transplants can last 20 – 25 years (even longer). Such a transplant would carry Jack into his late 70’s or even his 80’s, allowing him the joy of walking his daughters down the aisle, sharing love and life with his grandchildren, continuing to cherish his friends and family, and giving him the opportunity to pay forward the generosity of the hero who saved him.
I, as well as my other brother, Bob Sperry, would give up a kidney in a minute. Unfortunately, our own health issues have prevented us from being candidates.
That’s why we are turning to you. We realize this is a BIG ASK. But this is literally a chance for you to save the life of at least one – and perhaps two – human beings. That’s because you don’t have to be a direct match to Jack. Both medical centers are part of a national sharing chain whereby a non-matching kidney is donated and then Jack would receive a matching kidney immediately, no waiting.
I am not ready to write an obituary. There is so much life ahead for Jack, if someone is willing to answer the call. PLEASE consider making this gift. Think about the magnitude of this opportunity! You have the chance to give a decent, loving, honorable man the ability to share and experience a full life! We are looking for a hero and an angel.
This quest has obviously raised a number of questions. People ask me how Jack is doing now. Other than very poor kidney function, he is doing fairly well. He is not yet on dialysis but certainly headed there. He still works every day and other than fatigue from time to time, life is fairly normal and routine for him currently. People ask me how kidney donors do post transplant . The surgical/medical teams we’ve spoken with say kidney donors do just fine after transplant. As a rule of thumb, a healthy person with 100% kidney function will see their overall function drop to around 80% post transplant and should continue that level of function for the remainder of their lifetime. Jack’s current kidney function is less than 20% and he currently has no discernible symptoms.
Finally, people have asked how to go forward if interested in being a potential donor for Jack with either the University of Cincinnati or Ohio State University transplant centers. The process simply begins with a phone call or going on-line. For both Medical Centers you will need Jack’s legal name which is John P. Sperry and his birthdate which is March 4, 1963.
For the Ohio State Program:
Call 1-800-293-8965 Option #3
For the University of Cincinnati Program:
Log into: www.uchealth.com/Transplant or you can call UC Health’s waitlist coordinator, Beth Sanders, at (513) 584-0784.
As mentioned earlier, I know this is a HUGE ASK and understandably perhaps too big of one for many of you. That’s okay. My intention is not to give anyone a guilt trip. My goal is simply to get the word out to as many as people as possible so that a potential hero for my brother can be found. Even if you aren’t interested in being a donor, would you mind sharing this with your contacts in some shape or form so that the word can be spread?
From all of us who love Jack Sperry, God bless you.”
From all of us at Food Adventures, we hope someone sees this who can save the day. With a new fiancee, and 2 daughters, Jack is still very active and community involved. We are staying positive that things will work out for him and his prayers will be answered.
Jack and his family need a hero, could it be you ?