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The Fourth and Inches Quilt...for a good cause


Today we're getting a little bit personal on the blog, but it is for a good reason (I promise!)


If you've been following along for the last few months, you will know much of my design inspiration is from the sports world. I was born into a life of a "coach's kid", a role

that was passed down through the family. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all collegiate players and coaches.


The Fourth and Inches Quilt was inspired by the game of American football and more specifically, my father. In football, the "Fourth and Inches" situation is when the offense has one last try to move the ball a few inches or they must turn it over to the other team.


While his over 40 year football career was largely successful, it didn't come without a tremendous amount of personal health issues throughout the years.


Unfortunately, we lost my dad in 2017, but through it all he never wavered in his energy and enthusiasm for life, his family and guiding countless young men during their football careers and beyond. He gave this life everything he had down to those last few inches.


So what does this have to do with a good cause I mentioned? I'd like to share a little more detail into one of those times things weren't seeming to go his way...

 

Do you ever have one of those serendipitous moments in life where everything aligns in a discrete yet powerful way? For me, that year was 2012.


I was living in Kansas and one of my best friends from college, Alex, had just started a job at the National Kidney Foundation in Kansas City. Just a few months later my dad was preparing to take a new job as an assistant football coach at the University of Notre Dame. In his typical preparation for such a move, he made sure to check in with his doctors in Iowa for one last checkup before having to find and set up with a new care team in South Bend. He had previously been through a few bouts with cancer so he was always diligent in his care.


Much to everyone's surprise, that one last checkup revealed his kidneys weren't functioning the way they should... to the point where he was in complete kidney failure.


In his first year as an assistant at Notre Dame, he administered peritoneal dialysis at home and wherever he needed to (meeting rooms, equipment trucks, rental cars while on recruiting trips) in order to stay alive while awaiting a kidney transplant.


We were lucky to have such incredible support from our family and among the many donor candidates, my Aunt Betsy (my dad's sister), was cleared to be his kidney donor during that first season in South Bend. The transplant was successful on February 6th, 2013 and that kidney gave my dad an extension on his life to continue his career and to walk me down the aisle to marry my husband, exactly three and a half years later.


Throughout the entire experience, it never ceased to amaze me how the stars aligned in my life at that point in time. Through my friend's job at the National Kidney Foundation we were able to learn of the incredible programs and services that are available to kidney

patients, donors and their families. We had a direct line to an organization that helps so many, including our family, when we needed it the most.


There are 37 million people in the US who have chronic kidney disease and like my dad, most don't know it until the disease has progressed.


The NKF ensures that the 37 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease get diagnosed, treated and supported early. It provides the public, patients, and healthcare professionals with tools to promote kidney health. The NKF also supports life-saving research and advocates for change on Capitol Hill for kidney patients and donors.


Since 2012, our family has fundraised for and supported the National Kidney Foundation in Kansas City in gratitude for all they do for families like ours.


For this year's KC Kidney Walk, I have donated a Kansas City

Chiefs-inspired Fourth and Inches Quilt to the auction. More than 80 cents of every dollar donated to the Kidney Walk goes to research, patient services, professional education, public health education, and community services.


If you have the means to support the NKF and would like to bid on this quilt (made entirely by me!) use the link below through Sunday, October 8th, 2023.


For more information on the National Kidney Foundation and to find out if you are at risk for kidney disease, you can visit their website at www.kidney.org.


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