Every Thanksgiving morning since I was a little boy, my dad and I would play chess. He never let me beat him. Rather, he just continued to teach me chess strategy while I was growing up, knowing that one day I would become a good chess player myself. It’s interesting how he taught me the same way about life… my dad was the best example of a loving husband and father that I could ever imagine. He also taught me every thing else I learned about life… values like generosity and kindness, integrity in work relationships, and the importance of God in my life.
Rod Weckworth became an icon in the Sacramento area construction industry, helping to build one of the most successful electrical contracting companies in the country as a principal owner with Rex Moore Electrical Contractors & Engineers with over $75 Million in annual sales. I worked closely with my dad at Rex Moore for over 10 years, until we suddenly learned of his kidney failure through a standard life insurance test. Within just a short amount of time, our family learned that his kidneys would be completely non-functional within 2 years, requiring dialysis and possible death.
Upon initial diagnosis, our family knew nothing about the possibility of organ transplants. Even though my two sisters and I all offered to give up a kidney, my dad rejected any idea of such because of the perceived heath risk to donors. It took five years and eventual dialysis before we actually learned of the U.C. Davis Transplant Center and their incredible advances toward organ transplantation and relative low risk for live organ donors. It truly amazed us to learn of the 60,000+ people waiting for transplants throughout the country, when there is a viable alternative for families and even friends to donate their organs to loved ones.
On August 5th, 2003, my dad and I both went into the surgery room where my left kidney was removed and given to my dad. Amazingly, his new kidney started working right on the operating table. Just 4 days later, we were released from the hospital, and we were completely healthy again within 6 weeks.
Less than four months after kidney transplant surgery, I was able to run the California International Marathon… and my dad ran across the finish line with me. In fact, our whole family finished together in clasped hands and smiles on our faces. It still feels like a miracle today, knowing that we have our dad again in perfect health. As for me, my tne kidney works just fine with no adverse effects or future risk either. The joy I receive on Thanksgiving Day each year when my dad and I still sit down to play our chess game is all I need to remember that life is worth sharing… and this kidney was worth donating. I think I even won the chess game this year!