After coaching so many young players and teaching them about winning and losing, longtime Woodbridge football coach Preston Grace is now in a battle of his own. Not on the football field, but for his life.
In 2013, Grace was diagnosed with Amyloidosis. He was evaluated at Boston University in December of 2013 and then traveled to Christiana Hospital to receive a stem cell transplant. After the transplant he received news that the disease was in remission. Unfortunately, the disease caused kidney failure. He now goes to dialysis three times a week and needs a kidney transplant.
Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ. Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure.
“This has been a long road for us,” said Christine Grace, Preston’s wife. “He is waiting on the transplant and is on the list, but treatments are taking its toll on him. We are now turning to the community for help maybe finding a donor.”
Grace has been a coach at Woodbridge since 1987. He has coached football, basketball, JV and varsity baseball and still works at SCOPE.
“My wife has been my biggest supporter,” said Preston. “She is with me everyday and keeps my spirits up day after day. This is a tough fight and without her it would be even tougher.”
According to Preston, his symptoms began at the start of football camp in 2013. “I started to feel bad and went to the doctor. Tests showed my kidney function was declining and the doctor did a biopsy and found the disease. In 2015, I had to start dialysis and was approved by doctors to be placed on the kidney transplant list.”
“Anyone can become a donor,” said Christine. “If anyone is interested, they can contact Christiana Care at 302-623-3866 or go to their website www.christianacare.org. There are many people in need of an organ, not just Preston. There is a shortage and people need to become organ donors. They can do this when they renew their driver’s license. It just might save some lives, maybe someone in your family.”