HIGHLAND, Ill. – When the Highland Bulldogs varsity boys basketball coach suffered kidney failure this past week, his school stepped up to help.
Highland Varsity Basketball Coach Deryl Cunningham tested positive for COVID on Oct.5.
Amy Boscolo, the Highland athletic director, says Cunningham beat COVID over the last week, but his kidneys did not.
“COVID isn’t the concern anymore; the kidney failure is. He has been put on the emergency transplant list for a donor,” Boscolo said. “They’re going to start with his family first to see if there’s a match and go public after that.”
Cunningham says he is feeling much better after doing dialysis. He was even talking about baseball with Boscolo this morning.
However, he remains hospitalized and his medical bills are growing.
Cunningham’s friend and Boscolo set up a GoFundMe account to help offset some of the costs.
“Our GoFundMe account started less than 24 hours ago and was up to $18,000 so far. We are so blessed and I’m so thankful for generous people in our community, in Illinois, and across the country, because donations are coming from everywhere.”
In just his second season with the Highland Bulldogs, the former college basketball coach and player has earned the respect of his players.
“When I first heard about the kidney, I didn’t know how serious it was,” sophomore basketball player Cade Altadanna said. “It worried me a little because he is our coach and I don’t want anything to happen.”
Senior basketball player Evan Peterson said, “Not many people around here got it serious, it’s just been out of 14 days of flu-like symptoms but then we heard he needed a kidney transplant, it was pretty shocking.”
Right now, the Highland community is trying to raise as much money as possible for Cunningham.
“His family is so appreciative,” Boscolo said. “Deryl yelled at me for doing this but it’s ok, I can take it. It’s what the family needs right now.”
To donate and learn more about Cunningham’s GoFundMe, visit https://gf.me/u/y4rmnb.