Bittersweet moment for students as Ralls Band Director receives kidney transplant

Bittersweet moment for students as Ralls Band Director receives kidney transplant
Photo provided by Kenneth Walker
Photo provided by Kenneth Walker
Photo provided by Kenneth Walker

RALLS, TX (KCBD) - He's only been the band director at Ralls ISD for a short time, but students feel like they've known him forever.

Kenneth Walker started his journey as band director during a more critical life journey, as he was searching for a new kidney, but he says music and his students have always been good medicine.

It all began when he was 25 years old and diagnosed with Systematic Lupus.

"Systematic Lupus is an auto immune disease that doesn't recognize certain parts of my own body as belonging to itself," Walker said. "That's what caused the kidney failure."

Walker always had a dream to teach music to kids so he didn't let his diagnosis get the best of him.

"I love these kids and with my illness of Lupus, there's days when I don't want to wake up and go to work," Walker said. "The great thing about working here with these kids is I can feel the worst in the morning, but once I get here, their energy, it's infectious."

It was during his time at Ralls ISD when he got a call from an old friend saying she and her husband wanted to see if they were a match for his kidney transplant surgery.

"When I got the call and she said her and her husband were a matches, I couldn't find the words," Walker said.

He immediately told his students, the ones who had been with him during this journey. They couldn't contain their excitement, but it was bittersweet because his last day is this Friday.

"Especially since I am a senior and he's not going to be there conducting our last performance, it's just weird," Senior at Ralls High School Tiffany Gauna said. "It's going to be weird to come into school every day and not see him on a daily basis just like I do. It's going to be someone else, it's going to be a weird adjustment, but he's a good man and I am so excited for him."

This surgery is for Walker, but he's doing this with his students in mind.

"I want to give more of myself to my program and I feel like I'm not giving them 100 percent," Walker said. "Sometimes I can't give them 100% so I'm hoping that will change and I will have the energy to give all of me when I'm up on that podium."

Walker's surgery will be next Wednesday, March 28 in San Antonio. His mother has set up a Go Fund Me for all the expenses he will face after surgery. To donate click the link below.

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