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David and Pam Williams: The Gift of Life

May 20, 2008 09:32 AM

In a sport with love as one of the scores, it is inevitable to uncover inspiring, life-affirming stories. Over the next five days, Tennismonth.com will feature five uplifting and inspiring stories. The first is a husband-wife tale of a shared diagnosis and boundless determination. Two others prove the depths of devotion possible when one partner – whether on the court or in life – is plagued by an organ failure. Another is about how tennis allowed one women to get her life back. The final story is how one man’s talent at his job translates to success on the courts. Please be sure to check back each morning this week to read another inspirational story.

By Holly Goddard

COLUMUS, Georgia — When Pam Williams of Columbus, Ga., started to play tennis in 1994, she couldn’t possibly have known that the health benefits she was reaping on the court would one day pay off in a much larger arena – that of love and life itself.

Pam Williams

After taking a tennis course at Columbus State University, tennis became Pam’s game. She got involved with the USTA League and, as the years passed, competed in Women’s League tennis and played Mixed Doubles with her husband, David. Full of spirit, the spunky 3.5 doubles player recently picked up the award for best entertainer at the USTA Southern Section Southern Idol Competition.

To see Pam bounce around the court, it was evident that she enjoys the game and is dedicated to her team. What few knew, however, was, shortly after her run at the tournament, Pam returned home to undergo a major operation alongside David, who had been diagnosed with renal failure after a routine doctor’s visit in 2004.

It was a tumultuous time for the Williams’. Pam had just been laid off her job of eight years, a victim of downsizing. With no insurance and a sick husband, she launched a life insurance franchise. But despite building a successful company of 200 employees, she still could not insure David. So Pam left and embarked on a career – with medical benefits – as a financial specialist with Wachovia.

David had two options at that point: organ donation, for which the wait would be three to five years; or dialysis four days a week for four hours a day. Frustrated by both choices, Pam volunteered to be her husband’s organ donor. Though she was told it was extremely rare for spouses to be suitable donors, days of MRI’s, psychological testing and examinations by nephrologists determined Pam to be a perfect match.

Last year on July 30th, her 32nd birthday, Pam underwent a kidney transplant and gave her husband of 10 years the ultimate gift, the gift of life.

“I didn’t want him to be on dialysis; that would not be a good quality of life for us,” she said. “I just trust God and have faith that he will see us through.”

As far as her agenda post surgery, Pam – fit from 13 years of tennis – plans to hit the courts and be back to 100 percent by this summer.




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