Tallahassee, FL-- Now to the story of a football coach who is in the fight of his life, and it has nothing to do with the pigskin. Joey Striplin is a Lincoln High graduate who followed Steve Hardin to Rutherford and was an assistant for the Rams between 1990 and '99. Now he's the head coach over at Quincy Munroe northwest of Tallahassee. As Lee Gordon from our sister station WCTV tells us, Striplin's battling a different kind of opponent than the ones he's used to on the gridiron.
On the field, Joe Striplin is the definition of an alpha male
He's the head football coach at Quincy Munroe and has been teaching kids to block and tackle for more than 20 years. But while he puts on a tough exterior, inside lies a secret that he's been fighting for years.
Former Rutherford Coach
"20-25 years ago, having issues with blood pressure. I thought it was a flu, I found out I had kidney disease."
For the next 10 years, Joe was in denial--- hoping it was all just a bad dream.
"The doctors said it would be about 20 years until you need a transplant, so here I am.
Where he is--is Davita Dialysis in Tallahassee. His home away from home every Monday and Friday where dialysis machines clean his blood and function as his kidneys.
"Yes it's scary, I still get scared when I come in here."
"There was some days when the alarm goes off and you say, how am I gonna get out of bed."
But he did get out of bed, because he had to. He had to coach, he had to teach--but more than that, he had to survive, for himself, for his wife, for his daughter.
"You try to be tough on the outside, but why is this happening to me?"
Joey Striplin doesn't have an answer to that--but what he does know is that he needs a kidney, and soon. He doesn't have time to wait on the donor list which could take years.
So his five brothers and sisters were tested--no matches. His wife and niece were tested---nothing. But while Joey was starting to wonder about his future, someone else was already making plans for it.
"While all this was going on, my sister in law
went behind the scenes and got a test."
And just as hope was dwindling---a match!
"The smoke cleared and she said, I'm a match---I'll do it."
Joey's scheduled to have his kidney transplant June 7th at Shands in Gainesville. Tonight at 10, you'll meet Joey's sister in law, a selfless lady who's putting her life on the line to save his.