By Peter Laird, MD
Shad Ireland saved his life through living his dream of becoming an Ironman, but his dream is not yet finished. Shad is the one and only dialysis patient who has ever completed a full Ironman competition. At the age of 40 and after 30 years in need of dialysis, Shad has once again set his goal on Kona. Over 30 years ago, Shad saw a TV program broadcasting the Kona World Championship and as he lay in his bed waiting to die, he dreamed of becoming an athlete and competing in Kona. Today, Shad is in the fight of his life as he competes against other competitors just to earn a spot through Kona Inspired.
Sadly, Shad is not getting the support he needs and now he is in 3rd place in his division. Only the top two vote getters move into Kona. The combined power of all of the active renal organizations could easily place Shad in first place with only a few minutes time from all of their members. Taking only two minutes a day to vote for Shad from all those that have heard of Shad would be enough.
If Shad does not make it to Kona, next year will be one more year of dialysis and one more year of potential injuries to a body ravaged by renal disease for thirty years. With only a couple of days remaining on the Kona Inspired contest, the only question that remains is whether the renal community as a whole will stand tall with Shad and support our own dialysis champion who has and continues to give so much of himself to all of us.
To date, the renal corporations are not standing together with Shad and say he is all washed up. Shad continues to defy that logic through the daily pain and suffering he submits his body. We will never know if the power of a dream can be fulfilled if we don't stand together with Shad. If you haven't voted for Shad and given him a few minutes of your time, then who then shall we support and choose to represent all dialysis patients who never had a chance to dream a dream? Sadly, the renal community is known mainly for apathy and greed filled corporations. One man can and has made a difference.
You can make a difference for Shad and I urge all to vote at Kona Inspired for the next three days and show him that we do care and wish him to fulfill his dream. Shad deserves no less.