Tim Bellmon, men’s assistant basketball coach at Texas Wesleyan, is struggling with his health, and Texas Wesleyan faculty, staff and students have an option to offer him some aid and spread awareness.

Bellmon is 43 years old and was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 2007. He needs a new kidney, and the doctors are only looking for living donors.

According to unckidneycenter.org, FSGS is a kidney disease in which some segments of the kidney filters are scarred. When the filters are scarred, they are not able to properly filter blood. Unfortunately, most people diagnosed with FSGS will go into kidney failure, and a kidney transplant is what’s needed to treat it.

Treating this disease is not easy, and for those who have FSGS, it soon becomes a priority in their lives. Between the years of 2007-2010, Bellmon was on dialysis until February 2010, when he received a kidney transplant.

“Since the transplant in 2010, my kidney is failing again, and I am back on dialysis,” Bellmon said. “I went back on dialysis in November 2011.”

Bellmon said the dialysis consists of being hooked up to a machine for nine hours a day while it cleans and drains the body in four different stages.

“I have to be on the machine nine hours a day every day,” Bellmon said. “I get no days off.”

Bellmon said he has a 9-year-old son named Tyson who will turn 10 March 29. If  Bellmon can get a living donor transplant, it could benefit Tyson, too.  Bellmon said if he finds a match for a new kidney, he hopes it will work this time.

“Hopefully it is a success this time, and he won’t have to see me go through dialysis anymore,” Bellmon said. “He is the reason I keep fighting the battle every day.”

Ryan Glanzer, senior guard for the Rams men’s basketball team, said Tyson is a great little kid who looks up to his father.
“He is around pretty much every day, which is great for us players, because we get to play around and joke with him,” Glanzer said.
Glanzer said the disease has affected Bellmon and his family tremendously.

“It is a very serious disease, but on that note, I believe that it has made them a lot tougher,” Glanzer said. “To me, I do not see how he does what he does every day. He is an inspiration to the whole team and to anyone who knows his story.”

Bellmon’s doctors are only looking for living kidney donors.

Bellmon said in order to be a proper donor, someone has to fill out and pass an application process, have the right blood type, go through extensive physicals, and other tests may be necessary.

“My blood type is A positive,” Bellmon said. “Three family members have tried but none of them were a match.”

Brennen Shingleton, associate head basketball coach at Texas Wesleyan, is a close friend of Bellmon’s and said he lost his best friend two years ago to cancer, so having another friend that struggles with health issues on a daily basis is an eye-opening and humbling experience.

“I really think Coach B’s health issue has made me pay attention to what’s more important, value what I have, not what I need, and also really just stop and listen,” Shingleton said.

Shingleton said Bellmon is a source of strength and he is one of the toughest guys he knows. He said Bellmon is tough, compassionate, insightful and competitive.

“It is hard sometimes to forget that Coach B has a condition that he has to address every day, but he never makes excuses; he never has a bad attitude, and more important he doesn’t play the victim role ever,” Shingleton said.

Shingleton said Bellmon is a great role model, not only for his son, but for all the guys who come through the basketball program at Wesleyan.

Shingleton said Bellmon shows him what is important in life.

“Just when I think I’m tired or I make an excuse for a result I don’t like, he shows up in my life and puts it all in perspective,” Shingleton said.

Bellmon said he hopes to spread awareness of his disease, his situation and hopefully find someone who could be a potential donor.

If anyone is interested, can contact Bellmon at txwesbball@yahoo.com or call UT Southwestern Transplant Program Kidney and Liver Clinic at 214-645-1919 or toll free at 866-433-4225.

Emma Fradette; ekfradette@txwes.edu