Jones was already an inspiration to promising young athletes as Jones, whose lifelong dream was to play professional football, battled kidney disease his entire life.
Jones signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and caught 82 passes for 887 yards and six touchdowns during his three years with the team. Jones signed a three-year deal with the Patriots as a free agent but was released in late July 2013.
Jones had a few teams interested in his exceptional talent and with that set up a workout with the Colts. During a stress test, his blood pressure went critical to 250 over 110 and the test was stopped and the playing days for a once promising wide receiver were over.
Diagnosed with Berger’s Disease that required a transplant or kidney dialysis, Jones retired. Instead of packing in his footballs and taking his cleats home, Jones asked for one more hand. Jones received a donor kidney from his father and just four months removed from a kidney transplant, Jones has his muddy cleats on once again.
Realizing football was not an option, Jones, who played baseball in high school, is working out with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Jones is Buffalo tough and had this to say about his ordeal:
It was scary, to say the least. But I came to terms with everything, it was going to be what it was going to be. I was excited to get the whole thing over with and I was happy I didn’t have to do the dialysis.
All too often in life we fret about the little things that seem to matter most when in times of reflection matter the least. You are stuck in traffic and a few minutes late to work, your computer is slow or the cashier at Star Market put your bread at the bottom of the bag so it kisses the can of tomatoes.
These trivial moments in life are meaningless when your family is healthy, your kids are happy, or you battle back from a disease that destroyed your dreams in one sport to put your chips on the table and try your hand at another.
Instead of rushing to get to the store, to empty the dishwasher or you are frustrated with the kids, stop a moment, breathe the air and watch the sunset, call a friend or toss a smile to your significant other.
When faced with adversity think of Jones and others like Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman and The Little Couple star Jen Arnold, people who stared down mortality and came away stronger.
The age-old saying is true, "get busy living or get busy dying." Donald Jones is busy living and I say for the rest of us whose journey is yet to begin, let us take that first step and get busy being alive.
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