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Front Page » December 4, 2007 » Local News » Local Youth Meets BYU Football Team
Published 3,372 days ago

Local Youth Meets BYU Football Team

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By TAMMY GALE, Staff Writer

Terrance Hooks presents a BYU jersey to Kayden Gale.

Kayden Gale was born with bi-lateral hypoplastic kidneys. His kidneys stopped growing in utero and were half the size of a normal newborns kidneys. When he was three weeks old he was admitted to Primary Childrens Hospital with kidney failure. At that point his family was told that Kayden would need a kidney transplant at some point in his life but that he was too young at the time to receive one. The doctors plan was to change Kayden's food to one that did not put as much strain on his kidneys, to make sure that he was well hydrated and to put him on medications that would help with his kidney function. The main goal of the doctors was to get Kayden big enough that when his kidney actually failed that they could do a transplant and avoid his need for dialysis.

Kayden has feeding tubes, undergone surgeries, numerous hospital stays for dehydration, developmental delays and other side effects that come along with kidney failure. At one point he was taking 10 medications, two of them had to be administered by injection. On Nov. 14, 2006 Kayden's life changed. He received a kidney transplant at the University of Utah Hospital. He received a kidney from a deceased donor whose family had made the decision to donate their loved one's organs in order to help others in need.

On Nov. 15 Kayden was invited by the BYU Football Team to be honored as one of their heroes. BYU has a program called Thursday's Heroes where the team honors someone who has endured much adversity in their life. They invited Kayden to come and watch them practice and to be honored by the team. Kayden has a love for the game of football but because of his transplant his parents have been told that he will not be able to play football when he gets older. His mother has said that the only way he can play football is if he is the kicker or the team manager.

Upon Kayden's arrival he was taken on a tour of the coaches offices and team meeting rooms and then led to the team locker room. This room is designed after the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room and is huge. It is lined with lockers on both sides of the room and there are numerous TV's located through out the room, couches and chairs in the center and two ping-pong tables.

Kayden was then led to the outdoor practice field where the team was practicing. At the end of the practice the team gathered in the center of the field and Kayden was invited to join them. As Kayden walked across the field the team started clapping and stood up and cheered for him. He was met by Coach Bronco Mendenhall and introduced to three of the line backers who presented him with gifts. Matt Bauman told Kayden that he and his teammates may be football heroes but Kayden was their real life hero and that they looked up to him for all that he has been through and that he is a tough kid. He showed Kayden a big flag that everyone on the team was going to sign for him to take home. Next Terrance Hooks presented Kayden with a football jersey. He then showed Kayden their team has a flag that they fly when they run out onto the field that is just like the one they were giving to him and everyone on the team had signed that flag and that they wanted Kayden to sign the flag also to show he was now an honorary member of their team. Kayden was also given a football, a baseball hat, BYU stickers, a T-shirt, a DVD and a mini helmet.

At the end of the presentation Terrance Hooks lifted Kayden up and asked him to countdown from three so that they could yell Cougars. After the huddle every player wanted to give Kayden a high five and Coach Mendenhall took off his BYU hat and put it on Kayden's head. He told Kayden that the hat had brought him a lot of good luck and he hopes that it brings a lot of good luck to Kayden. It was truly an experience that Kayden and his family will never forget. Kayden is 3 years old and is the son of Josh and Tammy Gale of Orangeville.

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