Coach throws 1st pitch to kidney donor, former player in Columbus softball match

Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 8:53 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus hosted a big softball tournament. The Georgia Independent Athletic Association Finals at South Commons Softball Complex, but a health crisis off the field trumps scoring runs. Before teams looked to the field, things started with a heartwarming first pitch.

You’ve heard of angels in the outfield. This one was behind the plate in Columbus, catching the first pitch from a coach to whom she donated her kidney.

After that toss, News Leader 9 talked to the pair at the Georgia Independent Athletic Association Softball Tournament. Never in a million years did LaGrange Academy Athletics Director and former softball Coach Charles Parker think his former player Lucy Wynne would be his saving grace.

“I just felt like it was exactly what the Lord told me to do,” said Wynne.

Twelve years ago, Parker was diagnosed with stage three kidney cancer.

“I continued to keep coaching, and I kind of kept it a secret from everybody,” said Parker.

Last August, Coach Parker’s doctor told him he desperately needed a kidney transplant.

“So, at that point, Luc,y got wind of it, and on Christmas Eve Day, she came and surprised me and told me she was a match,” said Parker.

Five months later, Lucy’s everlasting Christmas gift was opened. Coach Parker got his new kidney from Lucy on May 19, 2023.

“It’s just a blessing to have someone like Lucy to step up and do that for me,” said Parker. “I tell a lot of people if I knew back then I coached her that this was going to happen, I would’ve been a lot nicer to her.”

Coach Parker and Lucy haven’t communicated in a number of years, and during this entire ordeal, they learned that they live eight houses down from each other in LaGrange. Parker says it’s unreal how much better he feels since Lucy changed his life with the kidney transplant last May.