Donor dad encouraging others to become organ donors

Getting a second chance at life

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Michael Chumbler still remembers that May Tuesday two years ago.

"That day was actually the worst day of my life. I came home and I found him. I actually had to put him over my shoulder and take him to the hospital."

Chumbler's son, Kam, died two days later, his death ruled as resulting from an accidental gunshot wound. The beloved McCracken County basketball star was mourned by many, but Kam's story does not end there.

"He hit more more last-second shots than you've ever seen in your life," Chumbler said. "They called him 'Kam 2 Klutch,' but even in death, he did the same thing. He came through for four people at a huge time."

Before he died, Kam had signed up to be an organ donor, his death giving Ed Ice, a Louisville native, a new lease on life.

"Kam was a great basketball player," Ed Ice, a donor recipient, said. "I'm still disappointed that I can't dunk. That's one thing I didn't get from him I guess."

Ice said he had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver when he was a child, the disease catching up to him 45 years later.

"My health deteriorated. I was down to 135 pounds," he said. "If I'd fall, I'd have a hard time getting back up."

Ice said he waited a whole year on the registry for a liver donor, not knowing when or even if he would ever get a call.

"To be honest, I made a lot of arrangements for my death," he said. "I went ahead and make funeral arrangements, things like that. You never know how it's going to turn out."

Finally, Ed received the news. He would be getting a new liver, thanks to a 20-year-old man he had never heard of from McCracken County.

"The emotions were just off the chart, they were now," he said. "You're so thankful, but by that same token, you're extremely sad because this man lost a son that I could live."

"He's living on in them," Chumbler said. "It helps me a lot. It really does, it's a step towards healing."

Kam's donation saved four lives, giving his heart, liver, pancreas and lungs to four people in need.

"To feel his lungs breath again, that was something," Chumbler said. "I love them like family. I do."

"I get to see my grandkids," Ice said. "I would not get to see them if it wasn't for Kam."

Chumbler knows his son may be gone, but Kam's spirit and his sacrifice are now giving life to others, something Chumbler knows is what his son would have wanted.

For more information on how to become an organ donor, visit https://donatelifeky.org.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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