NEW YORK — A deacon at the historic Marble Collegiate Church President Donald Trump once attended in Manhattan has launched a large-scale search for a kidney donor after a hard-fought but successful battle with cancer left his own kidneys significantly damaged.
Deacon Theodore Gregory, also known as Ted Gregory, has been a Board member at Marble Collegiate Church since 2013 and a member since 2009. He is also an alumni and current director of Diversity Initiatives & Talent Retention at Columbia University in the City of New York.
He explained in an appeal to friends and family Monday that he was inspired to take his search for an organ donor public after a colleague told him how he was able to find a donor by expanding his own search some time ago.
"Many of you walked with me through my successful battle with multiple myeloma (cancer) six years ago. As a result of the treatment I received then, I now find myself in urgent need of a kidney transplant. With humility and with the knowledge that I have taken this fight as far as I can on my own, I am reaching out to you for your prayers and help," Gregory said in his appeal.
"The effects of my bout with multiple myeloma, the scarring of the kidneys, have left my kidneys functioning at only 10 to 15% of capacity, and I will need a kidney transplant very soon in order to continue a healthy life," he added.
Gregory, a former scholar-athlete at Columbia University where he earned a BA in Economics, is one of the founders of the Stephen Ministry at Marble Collegiate Church. The ministry provides care for people struggling with difficult life events. He is also a member of the church's Gospel Choir.
"During my previous health battle with cancer, I mentally geared up for a fight and the game of my life. I called upon the lessons learned from my football playing days and from my 96 year-old mother, who prepared me well to face adversity, and to set an example for my daughter on how to cope with the challenges life continually hurls our way," he said. "I always want her to see tangible results that hope and faith can bring .... to see that spiritual, emotional and physical support does come through when you least expect it. There was a happy ending to my battle with cancer. I am hoping and praying for another happy ending in this situation."
Potential donors can call 212-305-6469 or go to: http://columbiasurgery.org/kidney-transplant for further instructions.
Along with his search for a kidney donor, Gregory is also seeking to raise $30,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to help defray costs his kidney donor may incur.
"According to the American Journal of Nephrology, living donors incur out-of-pocket expenses averaging $5,000 and sometimes up to four times that amount. The transplant recipient's insurance covers the donor's medical expenses, but not all transportation, lodging, childcare or lost wages," Gregory explained.
The campaign had raised just over $8,000 on Tuesday evening.
"I know that there are times in life when our true strength is revealed by our ability to be nakedly vulnerable and to ask for help. This is that moment for me. We have created many barriers to differentiate ourselves but we all want the same things in the end – a full and purposeful life...including all of the ups and downs life has to offer," he noted.
"I am thankful and grateful for the years I have had...I will be equally grateful for every extra day I am blessed to have, and most of all I am grateful for all of you – my friends and family – who have walked and continue to walk with me through this beautiful life. With faith, courage, a persistent spirit of optimism and tears in my eyes, I thank you for your consideration and generosity in which ever form it takes," Gregory ended his appeal.
In a New York Times report in 2016, President Trump acknowledged attending Sunday services at Marble Collegiate Church for almost 50 years but said he did not recall formally joining the congregation. He wed his first wife Ivana, at the church. During his brutal presidential campaign however the church released a statement saying he was not "an active member." The president further noted at the time that it had been about three years since he last visited the church.