West Barnstable Firefighter Who Gave 40 Years on the Job Now Needs a Kidney
Lt. Edward "Muffy" Clough dedicated 40 years to the West Barnstable Fire Department before retiring a few years ago, decades spent running into danger and putting the safety of his community above his own health and wellbeing.
Now, he is hoping the community can help him in his time of need.
"I need an O-positive kidney," he said, his voice softening after a brief pause. "The toughest part of all this is coming to terms with my mortality. Imagine that from a guy who used to run into burning buildings."
The 60-year-old grandfather and former U.S. Marine has lived the past 35 years with just one kidney.
"Back in 1986, I got testicular cancer from the hazards of firefighting and lost my first kidney. They gave me a 10 percent chance to live. I'm here today because I'm a fighter," said Clough.
He admitted that donating your kidney is a huge decision, and not an easy one to make.
"There are over 100,000 people out there looking for kidneys," he said.
His stepdaughter Amanda Jacob and granddaughter Jayla, who calls him "Papa," got emotional describing his larger-than-life persona as their lifeline.
"Last week, he fell ill, and the doctors said that his only remaining kidney wasn't functioning and was poisoning his body. Dialysis, three times a week, is what's keeping him with us," Jacob said.
She noted they are working with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to find a match, and that Clough has been on the transplant list since last summer, but the situation is becoming dire.
"His condition has worsened in the last week," she said. "His remaining kidney is functioning at only 11 percent, so we're spreading the word as much as we can, hoping to raise awareness."
Clough got the nickname "Muffy" from his grandfather because, as a child, he loved to destroy muffins by crumbling them to smithereens. Ever the fighter, he won't let his illness make him feel as if his life is crumbling around him.
"You have to stay positive and think that every day is a brand new day," Clough said. "Yes, I have a life ending-disease, but that's not going to stop me from making the most of every day."
If you would like to consider being a kidney donor for Clough or anyone in need of a kidney, please visit the Beth Israel Deaconess living kidney donor site.