FHHS Trainer Cody Elmendorf Donates Kidney to Aunt

Posted on 08/22/2018
Cody Elmendorf with his aunt, Mary Beth Stegall


FHHS athletic trainer Cody Elmendorf is more than just a hero to student-athletes on the field, he’s also a hero to his family, as well. He recently performed a great act of selflessness when he donated one of his kidneys to an aunt in need. In 2009, Cody lost one of his aunts to a hereditary condition called polycystic renal disease, in which cysts grow on the kidneys and lead to the deterioration of the organ. This tragic experience led his other aunt, Mary Beth Stegall, to go in for her own examination, where she discovered that she also had the disease. As a result, Stegall had to have both of her kidneys removed, and was required to undergo dialysis three times a week for four hours each day. 

After seeing how this disease had affected his family, Cody decided to test as a donor match for his aunt. Since his father is an adopted brother, there were no concerns that he might have the disease himself. After a vigorous testing process, the results showed that he was a compatible donor match for his aunt. On Aug. 8, the day before school started, he had the surgery to remove one of his kidneys. When asked about his inspiring act, Cody said, “I was healthy and I felt like it was the right thing to do. This was an opportunity to give her a better quality of life. Give her some longevity. To watch her children grow up.”

“I am in my tenth year of teaching at Howell, and I’ve never seen one person make the kind of caring impression Cody has in one year,” said tennis and cross country coach Tracy Carlson. “He is honestly and genuinely there to take care of, listen to, or check on not only our student-athletes but also our staff, in the exact moment you need him most.  It doesn’t surprise me that he has sacrificed himself for his family.” 

While Cody certainly had a positive impact on his aunt’s life, he has also had an incredible influence on the FHHS community. On Nov. 29, 2017, teacher Carl Wayne was shot by a passing stranger while jogging on a trail near the school. When he got back to the building, Cody was one of the first people to see him and immediately began to administer first aid. Both Cody and Golden Girls Coach Courtney Kassabaum treated Carl and kept him stable until paramedics arrived.

“Cody is a great representative of Howell and truly embodies what we strive to develop in the young men and women in our programs,” said Sean Erwin, activities director at FHHS. FHSD is fortunate to have such an inspiring individual working in our community. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to Cody as he recovers over the next four to six weeks.

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