KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — The owner of a small business and a father of five is fighting for his future.
Stephen Bagby, of Kernersville, needs a kidney from a living donor and has been searching for about three years. He owns Cool Breeze Heating and Cooling and continues to work as much as he can.
“I like working with my hands. I like troubleshooting,” Stephen said.
Three days a week, he has to take a trip to get dialysis.
“It’s like a part-time job,” he said.
He started having kidney troubles at 26 years old.
“We found that it was due to untreated strep throat. I was really sick … I didn’t go to the doctor until way too late, and the strep disease attacked the kidneys, and that’s permanent damage,” Stephen said.
About 10 years ago, he got a kidney donation from a family friend declared brain-dead after an accident.
This time, they are broadening their search because he needs a living donor.
“Our immediate circle is only so big,” said Kesia Bagby, Stephen’s wife. Kesia, their son and an employee at Cool Breeze have all gotten tested for a possible donation, but so far, no match.
“It has been hard … It’s a big emotional toll,” Kesia said. “Some days and some weeks, it just feels all a bit too much because I see other people seem to have an easier life.”
The Kernersville couple aren’t the only ones spreading their plea.
“Kernersville is a small community, and all the businesses here know each other,” said Andy Scott, who works in Kernersville. “They are good people, and you just want to support good people, so it was just natural.”
Scott is one of several people in the community asking anyone who comes their way if they’ve heard about Stephen’s story.
“That is very touching. I had no idea that people were talking about it,” Stephen said.
The kind gesture gives hope to the father of five.
“There is only so much time I can spend with my children before they are grown and gone,” Stephen said. “I just want to make sure I am there for them as much as possible. All it takes is one person with a perfect match and a generous gift.