BOONVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — A former first responder is doing something they rarely do, asking for help.
After serving the community for over two decades, former Boonville Fire Chief Steven Byers Sr. is looking for a kidney donor.
He served at the fire department for 26 years including 18 years as chief.
“He has given a lot to the community and has coached baseball, basketball, and football teams, and of course, being a public servant for the community,” says his daughter, Brandi Bruce.
After handing the chief hat to his son in 2015, his health began to go downhill. After beating prostate cancer, he began to have kidney issues.
“He had a tumor on his right kidney and got that removed. Then in December 2022, he got COVID and went into renal failure. It attacked his left kidney,” says his son, Steven Byers Jr.
Byers went to the emergency room and got a port for dialysis. Now he goes in for treatment three times a week.
“These people who are going through dialysis, it’s painful. I mean, they stick needles in you,” he says.
Byers Jr. says it takes a toll on his dad. The once-active outdoorsman needs to take time to rest.
“He is extremely tired and does not feel like doing anything after he has it. On the days in between, he is trying to recover for the next day to go through the process. You know, it keeps him alive but it lowers the quality of life that they have,” he says.
“It does interfere with everyday life. With his eating, you know, his diet is very limited for so many different things,” his wife, Cindy says.
The family says the only way to improve Byers’s quality of life is by finding a kidney. They are looking for a live donor. Executive Director of Donate Life Kentucky Shelley Snyder says there are over 100,000 Americans on the waiting list.
“To be put on that waiting list, to be told what you need, we know what will save your life, but we must depend on the generosity of often complete strangers,” she says.
“If I can get one, I can turn things around and be much better off,” the former chief says.
To learn more about being a kidney donor, click here.