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Ballards seek organ donor with rare blood type

Brent and Cheryl Ballard
An Abilene couple whose hopes were buoyed by the way ACU Today readers responded to another alum’s need for a unique kidney donor last year, has asked for their story to be shared as well.
Brent (’69) and Cheryl Ballard of Abilene are part of a multi-generational ACU family. Cheryl, 69, seeks a potential donor with rare A negative blood type who is interested in donating a kidney. She has been on dialysis for three years but a fall in February 2017 broke the arm through which she receives treatments. Surgery is needed to repair the break, but doctors are reluctant to operate and risk her dialysis options.
Cheryl has been approved to begin testing for a kidney transplant but without a willing donor, she faces a three- to five-year wait for a transplant from a deceased donor. About 6 percent of people in the U.S. have A negative blood. Ballard’s doctors advise that persons with A negative, A positive, O negative and O positive blood types can be her donors as well.
Brent’s great-grandfather, James S. Manly, was one of the five trustees of Childers Classical Institute when it was founded in 1906, when A.B. Barret began what would become Abilene Christian University. Brent’s great-uncle, Hollis Manly (’19), was secretary of the ACU board while serving as a trustee from 1929-70. Brent’s late parents, Manly (’39) and Louise (Giles ’43) Ballard, worked for legendary bursar Lawrence W. Smith (’29) in the university’s Business Office.
For many years, the Ballard family business has centered around being State Farm insurance agents. Cheryl earned a B.A. from Harding University and did graduate work at ACU in speech therapy. She taught English at Abilene’s Franklin Middle School in the 1970s.
“Cheryl’s orthopedist says it is improbable she will ever have full use of her arm without surgery,” Brent said. “We agree: no surgery on that arm until the fistula (a port for dialysis) is no longer needed. That can happen only after she has a new kidney.”
Despite his rare O negative blood type, McAllen minister and ACU trustee Abel Alvarez (’82) had seven donors step forward to offer a kidney after we shared his urgent need with readers in a blog post March 1, 2016. He eventually received one from Greg Hendrix, the father of ACU financial management major Grant Hendrix.

The Ballards are hopeful readers can help put them in touch with a person who can fill her need for a kidney and shorten her wait for surgery to repair her arm as well. If you can help, send a private Facebook message to them at or by clicking here.

In an effort to bring together readers inspired to assist others, we are introducing Wildcats Helping Wildcats, a new Facebook Group through which those in the ACU community who are looking for ways to help others can connect with those needing help. Join the group here.