Kidney transplant recipient preparing for climb of his life

LICKING COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — Two months after a kidney transplant one local man is ready to conquer another uphill climb, literally.

After a near death experience Seth Coakley is checking the major hike off of his bucket list by climbing one of America’s epic mountains – Mt. Olympus. If his name sounds familiar, we’ve told you about him before. Coakley had a kidney transplant in April of 2017. The donor was his partner on the West Licking Fire Department. After fighting his own uphill battle, he was ready to take on a tangible mountain to prove to himself there is no obstacle he can’t overcome.

With the doctor’s approval Coakley is prepared for the hike of a lifetime. “I feel good. I feel good I feel ready I have been training for it. For me its something I need to do to prove to myself that this kidney thing is not going to be detriment to myself.” It’s a much different feeling from last year, when his kidney function was down to 11 percent. “I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and one night I was just sitting around thinking about how I could turn a negative into a positive.”

As fate would have it, shortly after making the decision to climb a mountain, Coakley found the kidney he needed. His friend and fellow firefighter Dan Alward was a match.

As Seth climbs Mt. Olympus, he’s not only doing it for himself but for kids who can’t always afford to get out an experience the great outdoors. “I didn’t have it easy growing up but there are people a lot worse off than I am. I wish that at times I had more of a positive influence.” Coakley is hike with, and raising money for an organization called Big City Mountaineers. “The way it makes you realize that the world is just a giant place. There is so much out there and so much to see.”

Coakley has had a lot of help along the way from both old and new friends. Jonothan Barth from Clintonville Outfitters has given him advice on what to bring and reminds him of the importance of listening to his body. With only knowing him for a few months he through a fundraising event for him. As Coakley prepared to leave Barth told us he thought he was ready and is setting a great example. “”You just get a transplant and your climbing thousands of feet. I think it tells everybody if you have a goal you can set your mind to it you’re def going to get there with the support of everyong there with the support of doctors.”

Now on his hike, Coakely hopes his story will help others to climb their own mountains. “Sometimes you think something is going to be a major setback for you but its up to you to not let it be. You have to make that decision to say this is not going to define me you just have to get out and do it.”

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