Ryan Shazier's 50 Phenoms Podcast

Omar Foster needed a kidney desperately. His best friend and workout partner Clay Moorefield stepped up and donated his kidney to help save Omar’s life. After that, Clay and Omar worked together in the gym to get back to full strength. Today they’re closer than ever and hope to be an inspiration to others. Learn more about Clay and Omar’s story on Episode 3 of Ryan Shazier’s 50 Phenoms.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Go to https://pages.upmc.com/terms for privacy and terms.
array(11) {
  ["id"]=>
  string(7) "sms-cta"
  ["type"]=>
  string(4) "form"
  ["title"]=>
  string(36) "Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!"
  ["category"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["subcategory"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["keyword"]=>
  string(6) "HBEATS"
  ["utm_source"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["utm_medium"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["utm_campaign"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["utm_content"]=>
  string(0) ""
  ["utm_term"]=>
  string(0) ""
}

Read The Full Podcast Transcript

Announcer: Phenomenal connection. Phenomenal story. Next, on “Ryan Shazier’s 50 Phenoms”: from training partners to transplant patients.

Omar Foster: We were using, um, it’s like a paint gun, and you spray the wall and then you roll it. And I accidentally hit my finger, and it like, you know, opened my finger up. So you know you can’t really shoot paint into your body, you can get real sick, so I actually had to get rushed to the hospital.

Announcer: In this episode of “50 Phenoms,” Ryan Shazier talks with Omar Foster and Clay Moorefield 00:00:33, two friends who went from being training partners to transplant patients, and why they now hope their story will inspire others to make the same life-saving decision.

Omar Foster: They started doing some blood work, and they started noticing some things, like something’s going on. You know, your kidney’s not functioning like it should be. So they kept me overnight.

Clay Moorefield: The kidney started getting worse. And then this is when, um, he had talked to me about it and said he needed a kidney done. And I told him that if I was a match, I would do it.

Ryan Shazier: Just staying healthy and living the right lifestyle, I think, is amazing. And just to see that you’re doing it and able to help him out, man, it’s just- just awesome.

Ryan Shazier: That’s the amazing part about friends and family, man — you know, like the sacrifice that they put on the table for you. You know? I was in denial when I first got hurt. I was, you know, I was talkin’ to a doc, I was like, “Yo, I wanna be back out here in a few weeks.”

Clay Moorefield: (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: He was looking at me like, “Hey man, I guess you don’t understand what you’re dealing with,” you know. And you probably were feeling the same thing, you know: “I’m all right.”

Omar Foster: Yeah.

Ryan Shazier: You know, you feeling like you’re invincible, you know?

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: At the end of the day, family’s always there, they always understand when you need us, and when you need them the most.

Ryan Shazier: So how did you guys end up meeting? How was life before, you know, the transplant?

Omar Foster: We met, uh, about 12 years ago, 11 years ago.

Clay Moorefield: 11 years ago.

Omar Foster: We met at one of our services, our religious services.

Ryan Shazier: All right.

Omar Foster: And, um, we just instantly bonded, had a great connection, and then we just got super tight. From there we just- it became brothers. Through our first gathering, getting together, we started doing things — you know, going out to eat, hanging, talking all the time on the phone, meeting each other at service every Friday, and things like that. And our bond just kind of grew from there.

Clay Moorefield: It was kind of strange too because the way that he approached me- (laughs)- was kind of awkward, like just coming up and just introducing himself and just saying he kind of knew certain things about me and just wanted to meet me and stuff like that. And I didn’t feel anything weird from it. Like, usually that would be kind of strange because nobody just, like, comes up to you that you don’t really know like, “Hey, how you doing? My name is such, and such.”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: But it was just like natural, like I just felt at ease and felt like nothing weird was going on about it. And then, you know, we just got to talking for a few minutes there and exchanged numbers and then we just started building the friendship from that point forward.

Ryan Shazier: That’s amazing. Did you already have a gym by then, or?

Clay Moorefield: Training a little bit, but I wasn’t working at that time. I wasn’t even a personal trainer at that time. It was 2008.

Ryan Shazier: Eight, so… what all, what all did you guys like to do together?

Omar Foster: We do pretty much almost everything together. We work out for sure. We go out and eat, he comes over. My kids, you know, this is like my brother. It’s not even a friendship, it’s family. So, he’ll go over my mom’s house. He comes to my house. Uh, my kids call him uncle. We do a lot of things together.

Omar Foster: We done been to boxing matches, uh, you know pretty much everything.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, that’s amazing. My trainer actually is my best friend also. It’s crazy: We went to high school together in Plantation, Florida. And I used to train out in the area in Arizona, and I was like, man, my kids are in Columbus — one of my sons is in Columbus, and I was like, man, I just needed to have someone closer and that I could trust. Then I just asked my friend. I was like, “Hey, would you take the time to be my trainer?” He actually had no background in it. You know your friends, like this ain’t your only friend.

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: You know who’s really committed, who’s not.

Omar Foster: Yeah.

Ryan Shazier: Who’s gonna take something serious. Who’s gonna give everything they got for it. He became my trainer the year before I got hurt and he took it serious, and now he’s a certified trainer.

Omar Foster: Nice.

Ryan Shazier: He’s doing real good things, and — and like he comes to my house all the time, you know. My kids call him “Uncle Forty” and everything like that.

Clay Moorefield: (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: So it’s kind of cool, man, just to see y’all relationship like that because I could definitely relate to it because my best friend is my trainer and my brother also.

Ryan Shazier: What ended up happening, and uh, how did you find out about your kidney?

Omar Foster: I was working for my uncle. I was in the painters’ union before I owned my own business. I had got injured on the job. We were using, um, it’s like a paint gun, and you spray the wall and then you roll it. And I accidentally hit my finger, and it like, you know, opened my finger up. So you know you can’t really shoot paint into your body, you can get real sick, so I actually had to get rushed to the hospital. They were fixing me up, but then they started doing a little bit of blood work. My blood pressure was really, really high. Then they started doing some blood work, and they started noticing some things, like something’s going on. You know, your kidney’s not functioning like it should be. So they kept me overnight.

Ryan Shazier: OK.

Omar Foster: So I actually went to the hospital just for an injury where I was going to get like stitches or something.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Omar Foster: And they were like, “No, we’re gonna keep you.” I think, I want to say my blood pressure was like 200 over like 110.

Ryan Shazier: Oh, man!

Omar Foster: It was like, almost, they were like, “you’re about to have a stroke!” I didn’t notice it, you know, so.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, man. Like you said, I don’t know y’all religion, but in my religion they say, “That’s God timing.”

Omar Foster: Absolutely.

Ryan Shazier: Sometimes God has a plan and he puts you in a position to make sure you’re taken care of.

Ryan Shazier: How did you end up finding about his kidney and what he was going through?

Clay Moorefield: He wears his emotions on his sleeve. So I had called him, and the way that his voice sounded, I didn’t know he was in the hospital, it was just like really deep and really low-sounding. So I was like, “What’s wrong?” He’s telling me he’s in the hospital. And he was just saying how high his blood pressure was, and he had stayed overnight. It kind of worried me a lot. I do almost everything with this guy.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, right.

Clay Moorefield: Like, I confide in this guy about a lot of stuff like that, so this is like the person that I talk to the most.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I was really concerned about it. He kind of recovered. I think they put him on a blood pressure medication, so everything was like normal. This was 2012 or ‘13 somewhere. It was a while ago.

Ryan Shazier: All right.

Clay Moorefield: So nothing happened after that. He started taking his medication. Then everything was smooth from that point forward. But as the years started going on, the kidney started getting worse and then this is when, um, he had talked to me about it, said he need a kidney done. And I told him that if I was a match, I would do it.

Clay Moorefield: After saying it to him, I went home and prayed about it. Then I started doing research about if I was to give a kidney, what were going to be the long-term effects on my body.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: So when I start seeing that the person that’s the donor don’t really have issues as long as they maintain healthy lifestyle, I’m like, I live a healthy lifestyle already, this is my life. And then I talked to one of my brothers about it. I’m like, “Omar needs a kidney.” He’s like, “Oh, I’ll give him one of mine.” So this is how my family loves him all.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: So when I heard that, I was like, wow, it’s like a done deal, it’s like a sign that this is gonna happen. I went 2016, September, if I’m not mistaken, I went to UPMC to see if I had the right blood. And when the blood work came back I was a match for — I’m almost a match for anybody. I think it’s O positive, or something like that.

Ryan Shazier: My wife’s like that, yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So I was like, “OK, cool.” But it got delayed because his kidney was functioning at a higher level than they actually thought it was.

Ryan Shazier: Oh yeah?

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, so it got delayed about a year and a half. It started getting worse from that point. He went in, he was kind of delaying it because he didn’t want to, but they had to like take the-

Omar Foster: Dialysis.

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, start cleaning the blood out through this thing, a machine. It’s like they connect some veins that create — it almost looks like a deformity —

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: in your arm, and he was like hesitant from doing it. So he was, um, prolonging the situation. So my only concern at that time was hopefully nothing drastic happens.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: You’ve got to get tested a month before the actual surgery happens, so if something drastic happens, I’m not on deck. I’m gonna have to get checked, then we’re gonna have to wait a month, so you’re gonna have to get, what’s the thing they put in your neck?

Omar Foster: It’s a fistula as well, but it goes into your chest cavity.

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, so it would’ve been a more dangerous process because they say people that do that —

Omar Foster: It’s a port.

Clay Moorefield: end up getting infections and stuff like that. Yeah, like it’s a more dangerous situation. But, you know, by the grace of God, none of that happened. He finished coaching his basketball season, and then I got checked up. We were supposed to do it on my actual birthday, March 27.

Ryan Shazier:  (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: So he was like, “No, we’re not — it’s your birthday; we are not doing it on your birthday.” I’m like, man, it’s another day.

Ryan Shazier: (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: But then they ended up giving us a date three days later. So we went to dinner on my birthday, and then three days later the surgery happened.

Ryan Shazier: That’s amazing, man.

Ryan Shazier: How were you able to allow yourself to have somebody this close to you, to take his kidney? Because I know that’s an emotional….

Omar Foster: Oh, I fought with it. I was struggling with it, you know, because he has a son, and my thing was, like, “Bro, what if your son gets sick or somebody else?” He doesn’t tell you, he kind of bullied me into it, in a sense.

Ryan Shazier:  (laughs)

Omar Foster: You know? He was like, “Bro, I’m doing it. I’m doing this.” You know? I didn’t really ask him.

Ryan Shazier: (laughs)

Omar Foster: I had just told him, like “Bro, I need a kidney.” Like, all right, well, I’m gonna go-

Omar Foster: It was emotional, you know, just for somebody to even, um, love you like that.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: You know what I mean? To be able to lay on the table, and, you know, to give you an organ. It’s like, people I knew my whole entire life that, you know, probably wouldn’t even consider it.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Omar Foster: And, you know, I don’t blame them for it, but, you know.

Omar Foster: So yeah, it was emotional, and he was real persistent. They were — my family was upset because he wanted to do it almost kind of right away. He was just like, “Bro just give me 30 days,” because he had clients.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: He said, “Let me close out my clients.” And I was like, “Man, I’m in the middle of a basketball season. We might go to the championship, so no.” So I was trying to hold him off, so he agreed to that part. You know, my mom and them were a little upset, but he agreed. And after just him just being so persistent, you know, then I honestly started feeling sick. ‘Cause there was a period of time when he first went and got tested, they were saying my kidney was bad, but I was kind of in denial, you know? ‘Cause I was still working out. I could tell that I probably wasn’t 100 percent, but I was like, “I don’t need no kidney.” We’re both strong faith, you know, so I was like praying and I think I’m gonna be OK, you know, it’s gonna turn around. But, um, after that season, I started wearing down a little bit.

Ryan Shazier:  Yeah.

Omar Foster: I wasn’t able to work out as hard. I actually started coming to work out with him. I was on the treadmill, and I just seen him looking at me, and he’s like, “Damn, man, my bro’s a little tired.”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: And I was, and I was pushing myself trying to get back to my pace that we usually work out at, but I couldn’t. So long story short, after the season he was like, “Bro, we’re doing this,” and it just kind of went from there. I was like, “OK.” It was easier for me to accept it because I was like, “Damn, I do need it.”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: And my brother’s like, “Man, I’m doing it,” so I wouldn’t buck him anymore. (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, man, that’s the amazing part about friends and family, man, you know, the sacrifice that they put on the table for you.

Omar Foster: Yeah, right.

Ryan Shazier: You know I was in denial when I first got hurt also. You know, I was talking to a doc, “Yo, I want to be back out here in a few weeks.”

Omar Foster: (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: He was looking at me like, “Hey, man, I guess you don’t understand what you’re dealing with.”

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: You know? And you probably were feeling the same thing —

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: you know, I’m all right.

Omar Foster: Yeah.

Ryan Shazier: You know? You’re feeling like you’re invincible, you know?

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: But at the end of the day, family’s always there. They always understand when you need us, and when you need them the most.

Omar Foster: Right.

Ryan Shazier: That’s amazing the strength that you had to be able to do that for him, man.

Clay Moorefield: He was withholding a lot of information from me. You know, I can look at him some days and he looked tired, like his eyes were always looking drained. They were like yellow. So I could see it in his face, but I’m just like, “Oh, he’s doing a lot.” You know? Doing a lot with his business, plus we’re working out. But his now-wife, she called me and was like, “Bro, um, get on top of your brother, he’s sick. He’s not gonna tell you. Don’t tell him I told you.” (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So I’m watching him now. But this is after we already know. And I had got tested a year prior. So I’m like, “How you been feeling?” Now he’s kind of like, “Yeah, I’ve been — I’m a little tired, man, I’ve been a little tired lately.” But he’s not really saying nothing.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield:  So I don’t think he’s — I don’t know if he’s just withholding it, or he’s not trying to spook me.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: But as the weeks are going, on he kind of started opening up and started saying everything, things are getting worse, and he starts telling me how he’s sleeping in the middle of the day like it’s at night.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Like going to sleep at 12, not waking up until 6 or 7 in the evening. I’m like, “That’s completely abnormal for you. That’s not what you do.” We kind of stopped training, and then that’s when the process really started happening, getting checked out and stuff like that. You know, like, he was saying he wanted to finish out his basketball season. So I’m like, “Really?” (laughs)

Omar Foster: You- you the coach.

Clay Moorefield: Let the other coach finish it out, we’ve got to get this done. But once he finally got done, I was like, well, you know, like he said, I needed to, clear my schedule and that. I had to tell all my clients I was going to be gone for a couple months without training. And I just wanted to, you know, because they pay me for a period of time. So I’m like, well, I’ve got to close everybody out and make sure they get everything done.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: And then once I closed it out, everything kind of fell right in line. Then I just told everybody I was going to be out for a couple months, and that’s when we went from that point forward.

Ryan Shazier: Was that moment scary, March 30? Both of y’all had to go to the hospital the same day, you know, and pretty much get the procedure done. I’m not a fan of surgery. I had it a few times. Every time coming back from it, you know, you’re not feeling the same as when you went in. So how was that moment?

Omar Foster: He wasn’t scared at all. He was actually excited. I was kind of like, a little bit like, “Oh, goodness.” I even tried — I said, “Bro, you don’t even got to do this.” This on the day of surgery.

Clay Moorefield: The morning. The morning of.

Omar Foster: He’s like, “What’s wrong with you, man?” (Laughs) He goes, “Get it together.” I was a little nervous, you know. I started worrying a little just thinking about both of us, you know?

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: Because I just wanted, you know, both of us to be good, come out of there healthy. He’s like excited.

Ryan Shazier:  Yeah.

Omar Foster: So once I seen that, and then my family was just like, “Clay’s just so excited” —

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: So I was like, “OK, all right. I guess I need to cheer up a little bit.”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, he’s excited because he feels he’s got the best kidney in the world.

Omar Foster: Yeah, that’s what he said. (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: Listen, that’s not — that’s no exaggeration. (laughs)

Omar Foster: What did you say? He told my family, he said, “I’m the guy you give the ball to when it’s time to score the basket.”

Clay Moorefield: When it’s time to win the game.

Omar Foster: That’s what he said. (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: All right, all right. You’re Jordan out here. You’re Jordan.

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, that’s what I was feeling like. So we walk into the visiting room, his family’s there, so I’m the last one to come in. When I finally get in, I’m like, “What’s wrong with y’all? Why’s everybody look down?” Everybody looked like they’re nervous. So I’m like, “I should be the one nervous!”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I’m the one who’s getting it taken out.

Ryan Shazier: (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: So I says, “Relax, I’m the person that they pass the ball to when it’s time to win the game.”

Omar Foster: (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: You need somebody.

Clay Moorefield: Everybody loosened up. From that point forward, it was just smooth.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: But a concern I had of mine was the acceptance. I really wasn’t concerned about the actual process. I don’t got no tattoos. Besides getting physicals every year and getting shots and stuff like that, I’ve never been under major surgery or nothing. So this was very new for me.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: My thing was, is your body going to accept it? That was my only concern.

Ryan Shazier:  Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I’m like, I’m pretty confident with the team we have. We talked to them, Dr. Tevar, and like the whole staff was amazing and they were really good with preparing us for it.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: But my only concern was like, OK, if it don’t accept it, I’m out a kidney. You’re still going to need more kidneys. I don’t have another one to give you.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So that was my only concern, but once the surgery had happened, I woke up, and when I woke up there was a clock on the wall. So I knew exactly when I went under and I woke up, and I was like, wow, it was like exactly three hours. But I felt relaxed.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I didn’t feel no pain. I just woke up and I’m looking around feeling, “OK, nothing’s wrong.”

Ryan Shazier: You’re a different breed, man. (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: (laughs) It was strange. It was really strange. So the nurse came over, and she took the — whatever the cup is that drains the urine out. So she poured it out, and she was saying that, “This is strange. Your kidney produced so much urine, if I would have emptied the rest of the bag out, it would have overflowed.” So when she was saying that, I’m like, “OK, I’m OK.”

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield:  So I started asking about him. They were like, well, “Everything seems to be going good, but he’s still in surgery.” And I’m still under anesthesia, so I’m nodding, wake up, nod out. Every time she came back, I asked about him. Then some family members came down, and I kind of got a little emotional when my family came down because it was like, I was kind of in a vulnerable situation and then half the people are still there supporting you. It kind of touched me a little bit.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So I was just talking to some of my family members that were there about the situation, just telling them that I appreciated them there, because I do a lot of stuff on my own.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Like, I do almost everything in life on my own. Like, I don’t really ask people for anything because I don’t really trust that a lot of people are going to get it done. Like, I don’t ask nobody for nothing.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: I just kind of have like a really independent demeanor. So I kind of needed people at this time, like I’m not going to be able to do a lot of things I’m used to doing and stuff like that. So I was just really appreciative of my family. Then his family came down. Then once he came out, they were saying once they put the kidney in, it started producing urine instantly. I was just like, “This is it!” So I started relaxing a lot more.

Clay Moorefield: Once they finally got up to the rooms, and our family kept going back between our rooms, we were kind of like maybe from here to over to the door distance apart. So the nurse came and said, “Do you want to try to see him?” I said, “I’m gonna get up later.” I got up, made it over there, and when I made it back, it felt like I ran a marathon. I was exhausted.

Omar Foster: (Laughs)

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, like it was over. But, I didn’t understand the toll that certain things take on your body because it was new to me. But, yeah, everything was good. I mean, I went over there, we joked around a little bit. I was concerned because, um, you know, his wound was a lot bigger than mine.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: And he was in more pain than I was in. But everything was good. We had a lot of support, man, a lot of love, so everything was really good.

Ryan Shazier: Uh-huh (affirmative). So how was your relationship with you and your doctor?

Omar Foster: Well, our main doctor was Dr. Tevar. You know, we had a great team of doctors at UPMC, but Dr. Tevar was like real special to us, man. He gave us a special name. He called us the “Gym Bros” because we was a little in shape more. He’s way more in shape, but I guess I was a little buff. (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: And, uh….

Ryan Shazier:  (laughs)

Omar Foster: That was his little name for us, man, so he actually became like family to us. Like, we love Dr. Tevar. Because after you have surgery, you have to go back and have checkups every month. They have to make the kidney was working good, and I would see him. And it was always like a big hug, and it was love, man.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, you know you could trust him.

Omar Foster: Yeah, we got a lot of love for Dr. Tevar, man. He helped us, man. And he made it easy, too. He’s like, “This is good — don’t worry, man, everything went A1.” Like, you know? He made us feel good.

Ryan Shazier: That’s the good thing about having doctors you trust —

Omar Foster: Yeah.

Ryan Shazier: and somebody that you can lean on because I know my doctor, whenever he’d say something, it’s almost like, “Hey, I believe what you’re saying. I trust what you’re saying, and I trust you in this situation.” So me and him still got a good relationship. I totally understand where you’re coming from on Dr. Tevar.

Ryan Shazier: So how do you think this made you guys closer?

Omar Foster: You know, it’s hard to say it brought us closer because we always had that brotherly connection. I definitely feel that I owe my life. He doesn’t feel like I owe him anything.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Omar Foster: But for me, it’s like, damn, this guy like helped save my life. So we just have a different bond, and I actually have piece of him inside of me.

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Omar Foster: So it’s just forever, man, you know. There could never be a misunderstanding, a falling-out. We might argue —

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: You know, we’re brothers. He’s my real brother.

Clay Moorefield: A lot of people look at it bigger than I actually looked at it. Like, I understood what was going on, but his family treats me like I’m son, nephew, whatever other male figure that you can have in your family. Mom and Dad always called me son. Like, I’m really close with them. But his family members that never met me from out of town, they’re coming in, they’re like, “Hey, grandson, son, nephew.” Like, they embraced me like that, and that’s kind of new. All of his family is like, “You’re part of the family now.”

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: There’s no, if, ands, or we’re not just saying it anymore.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Like, you’re connected now. So that’s really what has changed for me more with his family. With me and him, we just talk a lot. A lot more.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Um, I check on him. I don’t think it really made me and his relationship any closer, but some of the stuff he’s saying now, like he said we don’t talk about me saving his life. Like —

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I never

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Look, I was just like, “I’m just trying to give my brother a better quality of life. I see what struggles is going on now.

Clay Moorefield: And then, the only time it got emotional for me and I almost cried, his son called me. His son’s really laid-back, nonchalant. But he called me one night and was like, “Hey Unc, I never got a chance to tell you, but man, I really appreciate what you’re doing for my dad.” Messed me up. Oh, man. Like, I really have to sit back and like gather myself, and I was at home by myself. And then, my son calls him uncle, my daughter calls him uncle. And then them seeing the severity of it, I think anybody would do that for someone they are this close with. Like, that’s how I think. It was like protocol.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah. It’s scary.

Clay Moorefield: OK, when somebody needs it, I’m up the line. I’m next. It’s my turn. Let’s go.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: Like, that’s what it was for me. So when people talk about it, I don’t understand why it would be a second guess for somebody —

Ryan Shazier: Right.

Clay Moorefield: if you claim that you love somebody and you’re able to do it for somebody. But when the doctor said I actually saved his life, I started feeling a little different at that time.

Ryan Shazier: So we’re in Club Elevation. Obviously you guys like to work out.

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, so we’ve worked out prior to the surgery. The difference is the way I train and the way he trains. He’s a really strong guy. I’m more of overall fitness, well-being, strength, explosiveness, endurance, cardio, muscular endurance. So I’m more in the overall fitness, so when we were trying to combine it all, it was kind of awkward at times because when it’s time to train how I want to train, he don’t kind of like that type of training.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, right.

Clay Moorefield: You know we want to throw the weights. I’m like, all right, we could throw the weights around, that’s your strong point, but we’ve got to be overall well. And me being in excellent shape was part of the reason how I was actually able to be the person that gave him the kidney. And also able to recover kind of fast. Like recover really fast according to what the doctors were saying.

Clay Moorefield: So a lot of it just came from having fitness as a way of life. Once I started trying to implement that in my life and started trying to implement also with his life, everything just started coming along a lot better. We probably work out, what, about four to five times a week together?

Omar Foster: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Clay Moorefield:  We come here, yeah, early in the morning, about 8 in the morning.

Ryan Shazier:                         It’s crazy how everything is so relatable. Uh, my doctor had told me that if I didn’t stay on a really healthy diet and stay in a healthy lifestyle, that, um, my injury could have been a lot worse if wasn’t eating healthy and working out as much as I was. So just the fact that I’m eating healthier and just working out is allowing me to recover a little bit better and have less inflammation in my body. So if I have more inflammation in my body, my injury could have been worse. Just staying healthy and living the right lifestyle, I think, is amazing, and just to see that you’re doing it and able to help him out, man, is just awesome.

Clay Moorefield: And what’s kind of funny is, like, I don’t know if it’s actually the factor, but since the surgery, he actually does a lot better with my style of training. (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: All right.

Clay Moorefield: So I joke at him a lot, you know.

Ryan Shazier: Probably ’cause of your kidney, man. (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: Yeah, so I tell him that you’ve got a Ferrari engine inside you now. (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: So he’s like, “Yeah, well, I’m strong.” I’m like, yeah, but you’ve got the Ferrari kidney. That’s why you’re able to run a lot faster, do a lot more, your endurance is better. I was like, you know the Ferrari engine is dragging around a Mack Truck.

Ryan Shazier: (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: So we joke around about that a lot. But yeah, it’s really been good. Starting over was the hardest because I was out for six to eight weeks, and he was out for almost three months.

Omar Foster: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: From March to — we couldn’t do nothing till July.

Omar Foster: Till July.

Clay Moorefield: Till around July, so we set a date we were going to start. I wrote the plan up. I sent the plan over to him. I said this is how we’re going start, we’re going to start at this base level at the beginning because we’re starting over. But it’s hard because I believe I’m an elite-level athlete.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: He believed the same thing. So actually getting there and have to struggle with doing planks —

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: like, all the beginning, the beginner stuff was difficult.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: Yes.

Clay Moorefield: But it was just like the will and the drive. I’m like, “I’m not going to settle for being where I’m at at this point when I was up here.” The surgery brought me down, but I’m getting back up there as soon as possible.

Clay Moorefield: So we were working about what, five days a week? Maybe like Monday through Thursday, maybe a Saturday sometimes. We would work in the gym and do all the basic stuff, and then  the hardest part was being patient. Because we’re starting back out lifting 50-pound dumbbells, we’re like — we’re used to pushing 100s, and 110, and 120-pound dumbbells around. We’re starting like literally over. He was a little more concerned about it because I was like, man, give me the 80s. (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: (laughs)

Clay Moorefield: He had to hand them to me, but the only thing was I’d have to drop them to the side because we couldn’t get up because the core strength wasn’t there. So that was the main thing, just getting the core strength back up, you know what I mean, and the difficulty of the beginning movement. But we stayed consistent, man, and probably about a month and a half we were pretty much almost back to rare form.

Ryan Shazier: That’s what people really don’t understand about rehab. The first stages, being patient, just trying to bounce back, those first few weeks are probably tougher than almost all the workouts you’ve done before, man.

Omar Foster: Absolutely.

Ryan Shazier: You get just as tired. I remember when I took my first few steps, man, it felt like I ran an ultramarathon, man.

Clay Moorefield:  (laughs)

Ryan Shazier: And just using so much energy to focus on a little area. It’s a big scheme of things trying to start back over from scratch, so it’s amazing what y’all are doing, man.

Clay Moorefield: Thanks.

Omar Foster: Appreciate it, thank you.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah, no problem.

Ryan Shazier: What was it like being a living donor?

Clay Moorefield: It’s kind of hard to explain because it just still feels normal.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I don’t really look at it as really nothing for publicity or nothing like that. Like I didn’t talk on social media about it at all.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: I just told my clients that I trained that I was going out and why I was actually going out. So it’s just really been really normal for me. But once I talked to people and people actually found out and people started saying how amazing it is to them, it kind of makes me feel a little different about it. But it’s just really normal for me.

Ryan Shazier: So what was the process like finding out about being a living donor, like trying to find out the information, like what you were going to go through? What was that process like?

Clay Moorefield: Well, a lot of it was looking at a lot of things on the internet. I mean Googling, going through a lot of people’s bios and stuff. I would look up, and certain names would come up and I would read things about them. And plus, talking to Dr. Tevar about certain things prior to it happening. And when they were saying basically keep doing what you’re doing, I was like, well that’s pretty easy. Like, that’s my life.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So, the research process was once I found out there weren’t really high risks for me, as long as I continue to eat healthy and do my exercise and stuff like that I would be OK, I was pretty good with it.

Ryan Shazier: So did you have to do anything different for yourself when it came to working out?

Clay Moorefield: Not really. Just start slow. And you know, being a trainer I’m always talking about gradual progressions with my clients, you know, coming in and finding out where they are at and starting them at a level for what their abilities are at that time. So the difference was finding where my abilities were once they diminished. You know, like, I really think I’m like a really elite-level type of fitness person. So actually having to start over, it was kind of difficult. But understanding the whole process, I was like, OK. But I had a desire to get back to where I left off at, so, like, that was one of the motivating forces that I actually go through the basics and understand that I need to get to where I’m going without furthering the injury.

Ryan Shazier: The big question: Are you making sure Omar is taking care of your kidney?

Clay Moorefield: (laughs) That’s a huge question, and um, yes. We talk a lot. I check on him and make sure he’s eating how he’s supposed to eat and stuff like that. He doesn’t drink or nothing like that. So he’s big on, he’ll feel like he’ll fail me if he did things that was detrimental for the kidney’s, um, well-being. So I check on him all the time. You know, like, we work out together. So I know what he’s doing here, drinking water, and cranberry juice, and apple juice. And like a lot of things that I recommended him to do, he’s actually doing it. Plus, I’m really close with his wife. She’s like my sister, so, you know, I check on her. I’m kind of like spying on him a little bit at times.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: So yeah, I’m making sure everything is good.

Ryan Shazier: I feel like the accountability part is huge when it comes to recovery. Especially when you have somebody close to you. You’re close to each other. You know, I know he’s checking on you even though you don’t feel like your surgery was as difficult or as strenuous as his as you check on him. And I know that accountability aspect is huge for me, especially with my trainer and my family. And I know you feel the same way when it comes to his.

Clay Moorefield: Right, definitely. I have some sisters that are nurses. So they’re like constantly just texting me or calling me just to make sure. Up till now, that’s, um, a year and a half or so later, they’re still checking up on me and stuff like that. Dr. Tevar extended his email and stuff like that to where if I need a question or anything, I could email him and ask him questions I might have. A lot of it is just me, taking self-accountability, you know? I look in the mirror every day and I’m reminded I have a little teeny wound down here. So it’ll be kind of funny sometimes, Omar will talk about he had 20-something staples. I’m like, I had a little teeny wound with glue on it, one stitch at the end of it and he had 20 staples. So we joke around and stuff about that, but I see it every day. So it just reminds me of, you know, the actual process that actually happened and actually trying to help somebody that I care for very deeply and genuinely, that I actually tried to help the person’s way of life.

Ryan Shazier: Was there any times that you felt frustrated with yourself where he was dealing with the world? Because I know even though you weren’t the one dealing with a kidney, but you gave yours to him, did you ever feel frustrated because of what he was going through?

Clay Moorefield: Yeah. I joke around when I talk to him about a lot of my issues, but when I’m talking to someone else, I don’t like to tell him certain stories about me because if I’m upset, he gets more upset than me because of how much he cares for me.

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Clay Moorefield: But like, seeing him frustrated and stuff like that and knowing where he once was and where he was struggling at. Also talking to him through it, just being like, “Yo, just be patient — everything is going to get better.” Because I was able to do a lot of things faster than he was able to do things. He wasn’t able to drive for a period of time. I was able to drive like a few weeks after it actually happened. And stuff like that, that were just little things, that I was able to like speed up that he might have wanted to do. So it’s like seeing me drive to his house that’s a half an hour from where I live at. “Bro, are you supposed to be driving?” I’m like, “Man, I’m good. I talked to the doctor, everything is cool.” But yeah, seeing those little frustrations with him, it would kind of frustrate me.

Ryan Shazier: What was some of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome through the whole process? How did your kids and your wife, how did they take all this?

Omar Foster: Uh, they took it well. My kids were just like, everybody was really good. My wife was just, you know, phenomenal. She did everything for me, made my medicines, made all my — you know, put everything together, made sure all my meals were prepared right. Um, my kids just wanted to lay up under their dad. Uh, my son’s a little older, so he was just checking on me: “Pops, you OK?” “Yeah, I’m good.” “All right.” You know?

Ryan Shazier: Yeah.

Omar Foster: So it was great. Everybody was very supportive.

Ryan Shazier: What are some things that you would advise people if they went through the same process that you went through?

Omar Foster: Just take one day at a time. Um, be grateful. Do everything their doctor asks them to do. Rest! Get plenty of rest. Get some, you know, movies going, just enjoy the process of getting back healthy.

Ryan Shazier: You had Clay as an amazing donor, but before that did you have any doubts about finding a donor?

Omar Foster: Um, yeah, I did. I had doubts because I really didn’t tell too many people that I needed a kidney. I was a little nervous, but Clay kind of just took that out of my hands. Before I knew that Clay was going to donate the kidney, I guess I had some worries. Who is going to do this for me, or am I going to find a live donor? I just was really unsure if I was going to be able to get a kidney at all.

Ryan Shazier: So I know there’s a few times when me dealing with this injury that I was extremely frustrated with myself, with the world, you know, even my family even though they doing everything right. Did you ever feel like you had those moments?

Omar Foster: Yeah, I had a few of those moments when I couldn’t get up and do what I wanted to do. I’m a very independent guy, you know, even though I have a big family support, so it was a little frustrating.

Ryan Shazier: On a scale of one to 10, what would you rate Clay’s kidney?

Omar Foster: A 10.9! (laughs) Clay’s kidney has been amazing for me. I feel great. His kidney actually let me realize that I was sick. For a long time I was kind of in denial and I didn’t think that I was sick because I was still doing some of the things that I was used to doing, but I was kind of struggling through it. But being now that I have Clay’s kidney in me I just feel so much healthier and things are so much easier. I’m back in the gym, running, working out, coaching basketball, doing all those kind of things.

Ryan Shazier: It’s good to hear, man. That’s what it feels like when you’ve got a Ferrari engine, right?

Omar Foster: Absolutely. (laughs)

About Transplant Services

Established in 1981, UPMC Transplant Services is one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, including liver, kidney, pancreas, single and double lung, heart, and more. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and have a long history of developing new antirejection therapies—so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions.