Bishop Lynch High School
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The Quinn family of Sunnyvale, Texas always knew the day would come. But they never expected it to be so soon.

Clay Quinn (BL ’07) knew all about his father, Joe, living with Type 1 diabetes. He was also well aware that, at some point, his dad would need a kidney transplant. Thinking that day would come later rather than sooner, thoughts of a transplant stayed tucked away at the back of his mind.

“We always knew he’d need a kidney transplant at some point,” Clay said. “I guess we just kind of figured it would be years down the road. We weren’t expecting it to happen so suddenly.”

Well, that’s exactly what happened.

During a routine checkup earlier this year, Joe was informed that the time had come, as his creatinine levels had reached unsafe levels, essentially causing his kidneys to stop working properly.

But, even then, Clay and his family were told the transplant waiting list could leave them nervously waiting for up to three years. Fortunately, a second opinion said it could be done within a year.

Doing what any family would do with a loved one in grave danger, the Quinn’s began searching for a match within their own ranks and, in doing so, got an unexpected surprise.

“We’d originally decided that my mother (Chelly) was the first option, but the chances of a spouse being a good match were astronomical,” Clay recalled. “But, as fate would have it, she ended up being a perfect match.”

On Sept. 1, 2015, Joe and Chelly, both veterinarians who own and operate Town East Galloway Animal Clinic in Mesquite, underwent the transplant procedure. But, the night before heading to Baylor to be at his parents’ side, Clay decided to start a blog, in hopes of creating a streamlined channel for delivering updates on his parents and their recovery.

In the first 24 hours, that page had received thousands of views and comments.

“It was clear that a lot of people really cared for our parents,” Clay said.

Seeing the overwhelming outpour of support, Clay and his younger siblings Jill (BL ’09) and Josh, decided to take it a step further and put together a fundraiser, something they hoped would generate a lot of exposure and raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.

However, the idea wasn’t quite like anything else that had previously come along. Clay would attempt (and make) a backwards half-court basketball shot each day, for 30 days.

“That shot was something I started goofing around with about a year and a half ago, just something to post on Snapchat,” he said. “Each day had a different costume I’d wear or theme, or maybe just some facts about kidney’s that I shared during the videos.”

The Quinn’s set their goal at $1,000, an amount that was reached just hours after the initial video was posted. Soon after, a new goal of $10,000 was set and then reached on Day 15.

“Once we reached $10,000, we didn’t change the goal on the site, but just kind of let it be known that we were going to shoot for $20,000,” Clay said.

At that point, #Quinning4Kidneys had started to receive quite a bit of attention. News stations from Dallas and Oklahoma City (where Joe and Chelly grew up) aired segments featuring Clay’s daily antics, which took place in a number of locations ranging from driveways to high school gymnasiums to the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks.

“I was at the BL golf tournament in September and hadn’t seen the new (competition) gym at the high school, so I did one of the shots there in the gym,” Clay said. “I drive a lot for work so I’d look up where some outdoor courts might be nearby and shoot a video at random spots.”

The Quinn’s met the $20,000 mark. In fact, the fundraiser has raised more than $26,000 that will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation. The family is currently working with the NFK Dallas Chapter to present a check before Christmas.

“We just hope that the money we raised can help another person or family who might be going through the same thing,” he said.

Clay recently shared that his parents are doing great, having recently run in a Thanksgiving Day 5K. Joe had wanted to finish in less than 45 minutes and did just that, crossing the finish line at the 39-minute mark. Meanwhile, Chelly — along with Clay’s sister, Jill — are training to run a marathon in the future.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” Clay said. “The outpour of support has been overwhelming and we’re grateful for everybody who helped. God is great.”


More information about The Quinn’s can be found here:


Watch news segments about #Quinning4Kidneys:

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