At a gym in Carrollton, young gymnasts work hard building strength and skill – along with life perspective and a sense of gratefulness from their beloved coach.
“I love working here, it makes me happy,” said coach Dante Sipp.
There are times Sipp said he chooses to be thankful as he faces a daunting health diagnosis. He needs a kidney transplant, after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney failure.
He said he was at the gym eight years ago when he realized there was something wrong: his legs and stomach were swollen. That’s when a doctor diagnosed him with kidney failure.
“I had no idea, I was so healthy otherwise,” Sipp said. “I’ve been dealing with kidney issues for the last seven years.”
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Sipp endures hours of kidney dialysis – then goes back to teaching the kids at the gym in Carrollton who look up to him. Despite everything he is going through, the kids said they can count on Sipp’s energy and great outlook – no matter what.
“Our kids adore him. He’s an outstanding young man, has an amazing work ethic and genuinely loves his job,” said parent Susie Underwood. “He has formed such an incredible relationship with our kids.”
“I always try to stay positive, no matter what,” Sipp said.
Sipp needs a kidney transplant. It can be a living donor – it just takes a simple blood test to see if someone is a match.
“Besides coaching, he works a second job, is a full-time student and goes to dialysis three times a week,” Underwood said. “He is a true inspiration to everyone he touches. It’s getting down to the wire – and he needs a kidney.”
Sipp said he's grateful for the community coming together to try and save his life.
“A donor would save my life for the next 30 years, to be honest with you,” Sipp said. “I am doing this, not just for myself, but for people to see me go through it and have a little bit of courage, and help better their faith.”
The Carrollton community now wants nothing more than to give him the gift of life.
A fellow coach, Ali Trent, echoed that statement in an email to 11Alive.
“All we want for Christmas is a kidney for our coach!” Trent said.
Here’s how you can help: Test to see if you’re a match. The blood type needed is O Positive.
Sipp’s donor coordinator, Barbara O’Neal, can be reached at Piedmont Hospital at 404-605-4128, or email Barbara.o’firstname.lastname@example.org.