Thanks to Walls (bottom), former teammate Springs is living again.
It’s a good thing Everson Walls did not get his wish. When he initially agreed to donate a kidney to Ron Springs, his former Dallas Cowboy teammate, the ex-cornerback thought the decision would remain a secret shared between to old friends and their families. Not quite.
Most of us now know about Walls’ gift. And because we know, perhaps others will choose to make a similar sacrifice and provide the gift of a healthy life to one of the 95,000 people waiting for organ donations.
For 16 years, the 50-year-old Springs has suffered from diabetes. The disease put him in a wheelchair and he needed dialysis three times every week. He’d also lost his right foot and part of his left, and had been on the national transplant waiting list since 2004.
Walls decided to see if he was compatible after two of Springs’ family members tests came up negative. The operation took place last Wednesday, a couple of months after the news leaked because Springs’ son, Shawn, a Washington Redskins cornerback, could not keep it to himself. On Friday, the two men sat next to each other at a Dallas hospital and talked about their new bond.
“This is the greatest moment in my life,”Springs said Friday, through tears. “Everson Walls is my greatest friend right now, and I’ll have to deal with him for 30 more years. I know he’s going to hold this over me.”
The trasnplant happened because Walls ignored those who told him he did not have to do it. Even his own mother tried to persuade him not to take the risk. But both Walls and Springs are strong men of faith. That has been their bond and it remained their strength through the operation.
“”I wasn’t afraid. I was never afraid,” Walls said.
“I wasn’t scared because I walk by faith,” added Springs. “I prayed, I believed and I received. This was destined 25 years ago. There was a reason God put me in Everson’s life.”
In 1981, Walls joined the Cowboys as a free-agent rookie corner. Springs was a third-year running back. They shared the Cowboy star only four seasons. But they remained friends long after they retired. They live near each other in Dallas and their families are tight. Now, they’ve decided to launch a foundation aimed at increasing donor awareness.
“Before Ron went [into surgery], something very powerful happened,” said Walls, trying to fight back his own tears. “He made a statement to my mother that he wanted to thank her for having me, because for her to have had me… saved him.”