In 2018, we introduced you to Chase Cofer, a young man and lover of music who doesn’t let his rare genetic syndrome (a spingosine-1-phosphate lyase mutation) and subsequent kidney failure keep him down.
Chase, a dialysis patient at Chromalloy Dialysis Center, has worked hard to keep a positive attitude, and it has paid off. He is excited to share the good news that he is very close to getting a kidney transplant, something he has been waiting for three years now!
“Keeping a positive attitude is the only way to get through this,” says Chase, now 21, about how he deals with kidney disease and dialysis. “You have to stay positive, stay happy.”
Both Chase and the potential kidney donor are undergoing preliminary tests, and he is waiting to hear good news. As for how soon the transplant could take place, Chase speculates, “I think by the end of the year … I hope!”
Until then, Chase will continue to maintain his positive attitude with the help of his music.
Years ago, when Chase began to suffer the neurological effects of his genetic syndrome, he found that playing the guitar helped keep his fingers straight. His love of music and being able to play the guitar is what bolsters his positive outlook on life. According to Chase, “Music just spreads joy!”
For the past couple of months, Chase has been playing guitar at the Sittin’ on the Porch Thursday night jam sessions at the National Blues Museum in downtown St. Louis. “Everybody has been so supportive at the National Blues Museum,” says Chase. “There are so many amazing musicians who play up there, and I’m just honored to get the chance to even be up there. Everyone treats me like family. It is so much fun! You never know what someone is going to play, and it is completely unrehearsed.”
Jesse Lopez, a volunteer at the museum, runs the jam session. “I am so blessed to have Chase in my life. He is a joy and his attitude is simply amazing. I suffer from Parkinson’s disease and know all too well as a guitar player what it feels like to have your hands compromised. Chase has become a staple in our blues family and is a favorite of musicians and audience alike.”
Jesse remembers when Chase came to a show wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a phone number to call for information on being a kidney donor. “Every day after that I would share a photo of him wearing that t-shirt on social media that would go out to the national music community. And every week, since we stream our show worldwide on Facebook, I would mention it before the two of us would play on stage, which we do together every Thursday.”
Whether sharing Chase’s story on social media encouraged a possible donor to come forward isn’t known at this time. “If that is the case, all the better,” says Jesse, “but I just feel Chase’s goodness led to this.”
In the a year and a half since starting the jam sessions at the National Blues Museum, Jesse had only missed one session. Two weeks ago, he was feeling “poorly” due to his Parkinson’s and was not going to make it to the session. Chase found out and wrote Jesse: “If you are there, we will play with you; if not, we will play for you.” Jesse got out of bed, went to the museum and jammed with Chase. “That young man has inspired me and everyone who has been graced by having known him.”
“Ever since I started dialysis I knew I was going to beat this kidney disease,” says Chase, “and just by keeping that mindset it’s made things so much better. The only way to battle kidney disease is to keep believing you are going to win it. I’ll win it.”
Read more about Chase’s story here, check out his interview with KMOV-TV last year, and keep up with his progress on Facebook.
Watch the Sitting on the Porch Thursday night jam sessions on the National Blues Museum Facebook page.
To learn more about our transplant program, please call: 314-362-5365 or 1-800-633-9906.