At a strapping 6 feet 8 inches, Kala Dawson is a commanding presence. To look at the former Norfolk State University basketball player, you would never guess that, at 33, he has twice received kidney transplants due to a condition called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, the same disease that struck basketball star Alonzo Mourning.
Kala’s first transplant in 2004 failed due to rejection. However, that did not stop him from participating in three national Transplant Games and winning seven medals.
His second kidney transplant took place in 2014 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. He scaled back a little this year and coached a three-on-three basketball team.
They earned a gold medal.
Paying it forward
With so many medals, Kala decided to share: They might inspire someone to donate a kidney.
He donated his 2010 gold medal to the Sentara Transplant Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for display in the clinic waiting room.