Man with over 2,500 dialysis treatments receives Christmas wish
(WECT) - As Marvin Burney gets ready for his 2,610th dialysis treatment, Marsha, his nurse and his wife of 30 years makes sure she's germ-free in his in-home clinic.
Three times a week, she hooks him up to a machine that cleanses his blood of toxins. This is his life.
"Kidney disease has not stopped my life. It's maybe changed my lifestyle," Marvin said.
The former little league baseball coach can only watch local games in the small town of Clarkton.
His dream - to go to a major league baseball game.
In November, during the Willie Stargell Celebrity golf invitational that raises money for area people dealing with kidney disease, Marvin's wish came true.
During a celebrity dinner attended by celebrities such as former Steelers great Franco Harris, Frank Coonlley, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, heard about Burney's wish and invited him to attend a game in the owner's box next season.
"That was a shock. I was really surprised. I did not realize that he was actually there," Marvin said.
It was a surprise for both Burneys.
For Marsha, Christmas came early when she got a chance to meet HER hero during the celebrity dinner.
"When I met Ralph Sampson that was a super treat. I love Ralph Sampson," Marsha said.
During this interview, Santa decided to deliver another early present for Marsha - an unexpected phone call from Sampson, the former UVA standout and NBA star.
Both said the evening with the stars is one they'll never forget.
"Franco Harris stood and talked with Marvin like they were old buddies - like a regular guy - that was a Christmas present for the next ten years," Marsha said.
After three transplants - one kidney from his wife Marsha - Marvin is no longer eligible for a new kidney.
The disease keeps coming back and destroys the transplanted ones, but his will to live is unmatched.
"I think that's part of why he's still here. He just will not quit. He just will not quit," Marsha said.
"I'm convinced I will not die from kidney failure. I may have a heart attack, a stroke, may develop cancer. Kidney failure will not be on my death certificate," Marvin said.
So until they get to that major league baseball game in Pittsburgh, Marvin will press on with his treatments, grateful for the gift of life every day.
"I don't need anything else come Christmas morning. As long as I have Marsha here with me and knowing we're going to Pittsburgh this summer, I'm fine...bring it on," Marvin said.
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