ORLANDO, Fla. — For Roddy Naranjo, a soccer field is basically his second home.
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“In a couple of weeks, hopefully I can start running around a little bit, and before you know it, I will be hopefully kicking around,” said Roddy in the mouth of a goal.
After being diagnosed with kidney disease years ago, Naranjo wasn’t sure if he would play his beloved sport ever again.
Kidney disease can be fatal if a transplant donor isn’t found, so Roddy took his life in his own hands and tried every way her could think of the find a donor.
He came close last year, when an Orlando Police Department officer saw a bumper sticker and was a match. But it wasn’t until in December when he found his true match in Kristin Scaglione, the wife of a different OPD officer.
Just days after their first time meeting, both went under the knife on December 12 for the operation.
The surgery was a total success, which for some would be the end of the story. But for Roddy and Kristin, a few promises still need to be kept.
“Last week she (texted) me she was going running. She is a running aficionado, she was going to do a 10-miler at 3:30 in the morning,” Naranjo said chuckling. “And she said, ‘Do you want to join me?’ I said, ‘Are you crazy?’”
For Scaglione, running is life. Back to full health, she is training for a half marathon in April. It should come as no surprise that her biggest cheerleader, other than her husband, is Naranjo.
She is his hero, but that is a title Scaglione is still coming to terms with.
“I don’t see myself as a hero,” said Scaglione with tears in her eyes. “That is such a big title, and I don’t carry that.”
But Naranjo firmly disagrees.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely. And whether she wants to believe it or not, she is my hero,” he said.
With his new runner’s kidney, he will soon keep a promise he made to his hero.
“I did promise her I would do a half marathon with her at some point in time,” Naranjo said laughing.
They’ve even picked a race: a half marathon in Pennsylvania in October.
“Will I become a runner like her? Probably not. But I definitely want to do at least one half. I promised her I would do that,” Naranjo said.
Roddy has kept his Facebook up in hopes of helping others waiting on their transplants. Even Scaglione is helping athletes who want to be donors.