University of Memphis men’s assistant basketball coach Robert Kirby donated a kidney to his sister on Oct. 8 and expects to be back at practice in a couple of weeks according to an ESPN.com report on Oct. 10. Kirby lost his mother 17 years ago because of complications from kidney failure and lupus.
With her health failing in 1996, Kirby's mother, Ethel, refused to allow any of her 13 children to see whether they could be a donor match. He said he wasn't going to see his 57-year-old sister, Virginia Kirk, experience the same fate.
The procedure was performed at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis.
Kirby and Kirk were released from the hospital on Oct. 10.
Kirby said his sister was down to one functioning kidney and experiencing renal failure.
Kirby and his other siblings went through a series of tests to determine a match. Kirby was the one. He went through many testings and passed each one. In July, while recruiting at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., for the Tigers, he was informed that he was a match for his sister.
Following surgery, Kirby noticed that the color in her sister’s face came back to normal right away.
“She was down to one (kidney), and that one wasn’t functioning very well at all. The life has come back to her,” said Kirby.
Kirk is married with three children and has five grandchildren. Kirby is married and has two children. His wife Valerie fully supported his decision.
Kirby, who is in his first season with the Tigers, has been an assistant coach for over three decades. He has also coached at Arkansas-Little Rock, Houston, Southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi State, Georgetown and LSU. He will spend the next several weeks resting and healing.