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Diabetes has claimed his kidneys and his sight but not his hope

While Jacoby Yarbro waits for a donor kidney he concentrates on healthy living

Helen Ashe and her twin sister Ellen Turner they were the founders of the Love Kitchen The retired nurses started the non-profit to give food and fellowship to Knoxville's needy. The sisters died but their humble and grateful spirit lives on.

Helen's grandson has taken their life lessons to heart.

"My grandmother always taught me that there is always somebody out there who is hurting off more than you are. So I try to keep that in mind," Jacoby Yarbro said.

He keeps that in mind on his daily walks.

"Getting out and walking around downtown is a big help for me being as independent as I can," he said.

Jacoby Yarbro has diagnosed with diabetes when he was seven years old and eventually lost the use of his kidneys.

"I ended up losing my eyesight due to the diabetes. I developed what's called diabetic retinopathy which led to glaucoma," he said.

He lost his sight but not his hope even though he's been on dialysis for about a year and a half. He sits in a chair for four hours three times a week.

"I usually catch my bus around 5:30. I'm in my chair for dialysis at 6:30. And I am usually out of it around 10. That's a big chunk of the morning and by the time I get back I am ready to collapse," he said. "They say doing dialysis is equivalent to running a marathon. Your body just feels so worn out."

He knows a thing or two about marathons.

He trained for the Covenant Health Knoxville half-marathon for months. It required hours of walking with his guide Andy Minton. He was eating betterm and getting stronger. He completed the half-marathon March 25 with aching muscles and a bright smile.

"To be honest, by the end of it I was wondering where my dialysis chair was," he said. "By the time I crossed the finish line I was like it's finished, it's finished."

His commitment to exercise is not finished.

But for long-term health he needs a life-giving transplant.

"I need a kidney to simply put it."

He's on the kidney transplant waiting list along with more than 95,000 other people.

"I tell some friends of mine, that hey, you only need one," he said with a laugh.

While he waits, Jacoby Yarbro takes his grandmother's advice to heart: there's always someone hurting more than he is.

"Looking for the things that you do have not what you don't have," he said.

There's that marathon called life and that other marathon in downtown Knoxville.

"I've been talking with a friend of mine and we're going to try it again next year except we're going to run it."

To find out more about Jacoby Yarbro and his hope for a kidney please visit his Facebook page.