Livescore Thursday, April 25

Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik will undergo a kidney transplant this week, saving his life from a case of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The team announced this Monday, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has a fantastic story of Zanik and his family history with the disease (and other rare diseases).

“The Utah Jazz send our love and support to General Manager Justin Zanik, his wife Gina, and their family as Justin prepares for a kidney transplant to address polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic disorder that affects kidney function,” the Jazz organization said in a statement. “JZ is an instrumental part of our organization, and we look forward to his return in the coming weeks.”

The Zanik family released this statement:

“As we take the next step in this journey, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to University of Utah Health and their incredible medical staff. The care, expertise, and guidance they have provided our family and many others, has been invaluable. We also want to recognize and thank the Living Donor Program for the extraordinary life-saving work that they do. We are immensely thankful to Ryan and Ashley Smith and our entire Utah Jazz family. The love we have felt and continue to feel is immeasurable. We are humbled and grateful to all of the donors that signed up to donate on Justin’s behalf. Justin looks forward to getting back to work in the coming weeks, and greatly appreciates the organization’s continued support during this process. To our families and our friends, thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers.”

PKD is a genetically inherited disorder — Zanik’s father had it and needed to have a kidney transplant — in which cysts grow on the kidneys, causing them to slowly stop functioning over time as the number and size of the cysts grow. The symptoms come on slowly and people can go years with the disease without realizing they have it, as was the case with Zanik.

Finding a donor kidney was difficult, and being an NBA GM doesn’t bump someone to the front of the line over others needing transplants. Donors stepped up, particularly a friend of Zanik’s wife, Gina, who made it possible, Wojnarowski reported.

Through the winter, the solution emerged for Justin: Jeff Hart, the husband of Gina’s childhood best friend, Chrissy, passed the screening process and became eligible to donate his kidney into the national registry. That allowed Justin to move up the list, find a match and get a date set for his transplant: April 2.

Because it’s a genetic disorder, Justin and Gina had their three children — Ava (16), Oskar (14) and Lucy (12) — screened, and each of them will likely need a kidney transplant before they turn 30. Jazz coach Will Hardy summed it up well speaking to Wojnarowski (you should read the entire story, it’s powerful).

“It is incredibly unfair,” Hardy said. “Haven’t they dealt with enough? But they handle it with such grace and positivity. They don’t complain. They don’t want people to feel sorry for them. I don’t know how they do it — it’s a remarkable strength.”

Our thoughts are with the entire Zanik family as he undergoes surgery on Tuesday.

Read the full article here

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