Bonded by blood: LaGrange Academy athletic director and former athlete he coached are on the mend after kidney transplant

Published 8:30 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

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Bonded by blood.

The connection between current LaGrange Academy athletic director and former softball coach Charles Parker and former Warrior athlete Lucy Wynne continues to deepen. After a long few months of waiting for the right time, Wynne officially donated her kidney to her former coach on May 19. 

“That morning I had such a sense of peace about it,” Wynne said. “I was not nervous or anxious. Nothing like that at all. From my end, it was such a small sacrifice.”

Parker said: “I feel like a completely different person. I used to come home after school and just sit on the couch until I went to bed before the sun went down. Last night, I didn’t get to bed until midnight, so I can already tell the difference.”

Both are now in rest and recovery mode. Parker is on the verge of driving again and Wynne will be able to return to athletic activities in the near future. They are both still weakened from the procedure, but their spirits are strong and the bond between them grows stronger.

“If I knew she was going to give me a kidney I would have been nicer to her when I was her coach,” Parker said as the two shared a laugh.

The first week was rough for Parker, and the ensuing weeks have been easier, but still trying. 

“Those first two weeks were terrible,” Parker said. “The week of May 22 was really rough for me. We stayed in Atlanta for a week in case something went wrong.

“I got pretty sick, and I was very sore.”

Parker came home after a week only to have to go all the way back as there was a slight rejection, so he had to head back to Atlanta to receive anti-rejection medicine.

The surgery took place the day after LaGrange Academy wrapped up school for the year, and Parker ended up missing his first LaGrange Academy graduation since he arrived at the school over 30 years ago. It was a sacrifice he had to make, but it paled in comparison to the sacrifice Wynne and Parker’s family have made to help.

“I feel like it’s been such a small sacrifice for me, but my family might say differently,” Wynne said laughing. “They have really helped around the house.” 

The support system Parker has had through this entire journey are his wife Teresa and his daughter Kailin. Parker is on the mend and hopes to return to full health by mid-July, which allowed his wife to return to work earlier in the week. 

Kailin now lives in Birmingham, Alabama but has made multiple trips at the drop of a hat to come to Georgia and help her folks.

The support system goes well beyond the Wynne and the Parker families. In fact, neither family has had to cook a meal in the last month because of the support they have had from the LaGrange Academy family and the community at large. This experience has only further shed light on just how much of a family atmosphere LaGrange Academy has curated for these two individuals.

“I don’t think God would have put this on my heart if we didn’t have the community support around us that we have,” Wynne said. “LaGrange Academy just had my daughter come last week for free.”

Parker said: “The community support and my colleagues at school have been there for us. I thought my teachers would be there for me, but good Lord, we did not expect this.”

There is still a long journey ahead for both, especially for Parker. For Wynne, the only major lifestyle change is no more Ibuprofen, Motrin and the likes as it is only Tyelonol from here on out for both. 

Parker hopes to be ready for the start of the school year in August. Rarely missing a home game for any Warrior team, Parker is ready to be back on the sidelines and in the halls of LaGrange Academy with more energy and enthusiasm as he embraces his new lease on life.