Fort Worth

Kidney Transplant Recipient to Run Cowtown Half-Marathon

Danny Kolzow says his new kidney has given him a new life

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Each of the 25,000 runners in Fort Worth’s Cowtown Marathon this weekend has a story about setting goals and overcoming challenges, but none quite like Danny Kolzow.

"Just a blessing to have this opportunity,” the nurse and TCU graduate said.

Just three years ago, Kolzow never expected to be in any race, let along a half-marathon.

His kidneys were close to totally failing.

Then his best friend, Grant McMillan, gave him one of his.

Danny Kolzow (right) says the kidney donated by his best friend, Grant McMillan (left), has given him new life.

When McMillan learned he was a match, he surprised Kolzow at the hospital where he worked in a video that went viral.

"I heard you're in need of a kidney. Do you want mine?" McMillan said.

In the years since, Kolzow said his life has totally changed. Tests show his new kidney is working perfectly, he said.

In September, Kolzow started running.

Graham McMillan and Danny Kolzow are recovering after a kidney donation Wednesday. It has been nearly five years since NBC 5’s Kristi Nelson donated a kidney to her mother, and she recounts that process.

"I was like, 'this feels good,'” he said. “I've never felt this good running. I did three miles that day and I texted Graham, ‘I just ran three miles for the first time in my life. This feels great.’"

He's kept at it.

"I'm a runner, I guess you could say that,” Kolzow said.

McMillan is a youth pastor and doesn’t run himself. But he'll be there Sunday morning before he goes to church to cheer on his friend.

Fort Worth youth minister Graham McMillan surprised his friend, nurse Danny Kolzow, to tell him he’s a match for a kidney donation.

"Seeing him do something, accomplish feats and live a normal awesome life is all you could ask for, really,” McMillan said.

Kolzow said he hopes to be an inspiration for others awaiting a kidney transplant.

"That's so encouraging for me to stand up for all those other people with kidney failure I've grown to meet and grown to love and show them life on the other side is so awesome, to keep fighting through dialysis, because it's so worth it in the end,” he said.

It’s a lesson about making it to the finish line that's about so much more than running a half-marathon.

“It’s pretty special to watch Danny accomplish something that not a lot of people get to do,” McMillan said.

“Yeah, I have you to thank for it,” Kolzow said.

This story has been updated to clarify Kolzow is running the half-marathon, not the full marathon.

Contact Us