Former Valdosta High basketball player needs liver transplant -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Former Valdosta High basketball player needs liver transplant

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –A former Valdosta High School basketball player needs a liver transplant.

Businesses and churches are reaching out to help Santonio Bivins.

They're raising money for travel expenses and his post-transplant needs.

Santonio Bivins looks down at his Wildcat basketball team picture. He loved playing on the team and just for fun. Now he's off the court faced with a liver disease called Sclerosing cholangitis.

"Ever since I got the disease I can't play basketball," said Bivins. "They disabled me from work I can't go to school."

He was diagnosed with the disease in Feburary 2009 during his sophomore year in college. He had three surgeries that were unsuccessful and this year he was put on a liver transplant list.

"I get tired easily they (his friends) wonder why I'm not as energetic," said Bivins. "It really hits me hard, lower iron all the time, I'm always week."

Churches and businesses are raising money to help offset Bivins' expenses. Baytree Pizza is donating 40 percent of proceeds from a coupon special they're running.

"We just appreciate the help that they gave us," said Bivins' stepfather Tommie Hayes. I would like to thank each and everyone that helped us."

The family has health insurance but they still need tends of thousands of dollars for medical bills, medication, and travel expenses for his family driving to and from Emory in Atlanta.

His stepdad missed so many days driving his son back and forth to doctor visits that he lost his full-time job.

"I just been trying to find paint work, anything doing lawns it doesn't matter," said Hayes. "Just anything that will help out with the family especially him."

After he gets a transplant, the motivated Bivins hopes to get back on the court, get back to work and finish up his sports medicine degree at Valdosta State University.

You can drop off donations at Georgia Power Credit Union or mail them in to:

Georgia Power Credit Union

1707 Dow Street

Valdosta, Georgia 31601

Make sure your checks are payable to the "Bivins Family."


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