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Old 02-22-2014, 02:57 AM   #21
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 73
Default Re: AUSTIN-TEXAS-Feb.11-2014

Thank you Charlene. There really is so much to this story but I guess you can say it all started innocently enough a couple years ago when I decided to write an email to Carter Lancaster welcoming him with support to the band. I never at that time imagined how the wheels of life would turn just two years later. But time passed and last year my Mom finally lost her three year battle with cancer on February 6th. Three years before that she was given only three months to live being told that her cancer was inoperable and chemo wouldn't do any good. But chemo gave her three more loving years with us. But as I sat beside her last year watching her pass, I swore to myself that I was going to do all I could to make sure I could help prevent another family from going through this. Around the same time I read on Facebook about an acquaintance who was just added to the kidney transplant waiting list. That's when I decided that I was going to make a difference in this person's life by donating a kidney. His name was Jerry Clayworth. On my wedding anniversary of March 15th, 2013, my wife Lori and I accidentally ran into Jerry at an Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell performance at SXSW held here annually in Austin, Texas. Jerry had no idea what I was planning. Neither did my wife Lori. But after the show on our walk back to the car, I asked Lori if she would mind if I donated to Jerry. She proudly said she would stand with me.

I emailed Jerry the very next day and told him what I wanted to do for him. He was very excited and within weeks I began my testing. It would be a seven month journey of testing for a compatibility in blood, DNA and a host of other things. Usually the process takes a shorter time but because of Jerry living in San Antonio where the University Transplant Hospital is located and I lived in Austin, the test where spread out in some cases and some had to be repeated. There were a few scares along the way but after retesting a few procedures, smooth sailing prevailed. Our surgery was finally scheduled on October 24th. Because of Jerry being a show promoter and holding many benefits for ill or dying musicians, a benefit was held for him just a few days before the surgery. And another a month after to cover cost of anti rejection medicines not covered by insurance and other care needed to keep him alive after the transplant.

The surgery ended up being a success. And now, all that waited ahead was a two to three month recovery period. And it was around this time I believe that I noticed that Gordon was coming to Austin on February 11, 2014. So my wife purchased the tickets for my birthday which was going to be on February 8th. Just two days after the anniversary of my mom's passing. During the last week of January, I decided to write Carter Lancaster to ask if he not only remembered me writing him a couple years ago, but also asking if there was any way he could get this fan backstage to meet Gordon. I had also told him about my kidney transplant and donation. About ten days went by without any word from Carter. I just figured maybe my email was sent to his junk mail folder because I had sent photos of Jerry and I in the hospital together. And I told Carter our story. Yes, I'm guilty. I was playing the kidney card. But here was my all time idol coming to town and with all I'd been through the previous year, I wanted to personally meet him.

The first week of February arrived and the excitement I had for Gordon coming out to Austin sort of slipped slightly when the anniversary of my Mom's passing hit me hard. Harder than it had in quite sometime. I really didn't even think much about Carter's email I wrote him. As we got closer to Gordon's show, I was feeling pretty far down. My beautiful wife gave me a beautiful birthday day. But I was still pretty low. The day of Gordon's concert at the ACL Moody Theatre had finally arrived. I decided to one more time reach out to Carter thru email. But no luck. So that night it was bitterly a cold one in Austin and our plan of waiting outside the venue after the show was scrapped even before the show started. But just in case Carter did get my message, I went Will Call to check for backstage passes and see if any were left but there were none. That was okay. Lori and I now could just relax and not worry about anything and just watch the show. No other care in the world but watching Gordon.

After the show ended, Lori asked me what I wanted to do. I was tired and I was so happy just to go home with the memory of a great show. As we walked down the stairs on the outside, Lori asked me if I was sure that I didn't want to try and meet Gordon? She got me thinking. And I decided to try and just go through the doors into the stage area. There a young security guard stopped me. I told her I was there to see Carter. She told me I needed to go around the other side and talk to those security guards. When Lori and arrived to that destination, the head of security was there. He told us that the band was doing a quick meet n greet and leaving. I asked him if he would be kind enough to tell Carter that David and Lori Ray were waiting for him. So the guard wrote all that down. I figured that maybe Carter did get my email and would recall the name. I also told the security guard to tell him that I was the kidney transplant patient. So the guard left Lori and I alone. I really didn't expect anything to happen except to be driving home in just a few minutes on the icy roads. But about 5 minutes later, the Moody's chief of security came back and in his hand were two guest passes. I couldn't believe it. He lead us back into the theater and we waited with a group of about 10 others.

Soon the band members came walking out. I first talked to Barry. Then Carter came out. As I started talking to Carter, I was telling him who I was and I was thanking him for allowing us the guest passes. Carter was so nice to Lori and I and engaged us in conversation. But he did seem a little confused when I again thanked him for the passes. Soon Gordon came out with Rick and Warren. And everyone was so nice. The other fans waiting were really great people. And my dream came true with Gordon autographing my Sundown album, "To David Happy Birthday Gordon Lightfoot!. And he autographed Lori's cd, To David and Lori, Love Gordon Lightfoot". "Love Gordon Lightfoot?" Wow! Lori and I realized right then and there that you are never to old to dream or wish. That night on the way home when things became a little clearer, we started to wonder if it was Warren who sent the passes out and not Carter. Like I said, Carter seemed a little confused but nevertheless he treated us like long lost friends. But Warren, if it was you responsible for all this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you.

With Gordon playing the next night down in San Antonio, I really wanted to go. But since my surgery, money has been a little tight because of the work I've missed. But my kidney recipient Jerry, decided to go down to the Majestic theater and wait outside for Gordon. After the show Gordon came out with Warren. Jerry ended up asking Warren if Gordon could speak a few words into a video camera supporting organ donations for another friend we have in need of a transplant. Warren wasn't sure if Gordon could do that at that moment and Jerry was very understanding. But Jerry did get his photo taken with Gordon as I myself had the night before. Just think about it. Gordon on one night was with me standing side by side. And the very next night he was standing side by side with my old kidney. Or Jerry's new kidney. We both got a laugh out of that. Tomorrow I will also post Jerry and Gordon's photo. As well as the one taken of my wife and Gordon. That's a real good one. There really is so much more to this story that makes it so unbelievable. If only time permitted. But if you GOOGLE both Jerry Clayworth and David Ray together, there are quite a few stories on there about us. I hope my grammar or spelling wasn't too bad for I am typing all this from my Android. Whose spell check has a mind of it's own. Thanks to Charlene for allowing me to tell my Gordon story and Jerry's and my kidney story. Thank you Warren my friend. I think it had to be you who made my wife's and my dream come true. And thanks to Gordon, Carter, Barry and Rick also. We love you. And please remember everyone. At this very moment in the USA alone, there are over 122,000 men, women and children on dialysis with kidney failure. Thousands will die this year alone while waiting on the transplant list. It's not money, or science or more money that's going to save them. It's you! Be a donor. Please! Although living donors are preferred, just being a donor in case of death will work also. Too many people are losing their lives from a disease in which there is a cure! We're the cure! All of us! Thanks Again Charlene. I also want to apologize for writing so much and taking up so much space. Sorry......

Last edited by dray7austin; 02-22-2014 at 04:16 AM.
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