ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) — At 34 years old, Wilson Du was a hard working Bank of America mortgage banker living in Alameda. He was dangerously overweight at 315 pounds and he suddenly found himself in the emergency room.
Du was diagnosed with end stage renal disease, or kidney failure.READ MORE: Dixie Fire Update: Homes Burn; Firefighters Wage Desperate Battle With Wall Of Flames In Indian Falls
But two years later and 130 pounds lighter, Du is now known as the Renal Warrior.
“I’m sitting here in a wheelchair. I said, ‘I’m going to choose life’ instead of going the other path. And from that day, I picked myself up and it was painful, but I started walking,” said Du.
Now, Du trains intensely like an athlete.
In order to receive a kidney transplant, Du first needed to lose the weight. Now that he’s done so and qualifies for a transplant, he needs to find a donor.
Du is setting out on a great journey to raise awareness for renal disease, which is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. He will bike from Santa Cruz all the way down to San Diego.
“Most people who have kidney disease do not know they have it until it’s too late–like myself. So we’re trying to raise awareness for that, so that it can hopefully be prevented,” said Du.
His ride kicked off at Dragon Rouge restaurant in Alameda with family, friends and support from the Asian Real Estate Association of America.READ MORE: San Francisco To Consider Transit Fees On Congested City Streets
Du needs dialysis about four times a week. During each treatment, he’s tied to a chair for up to five hours. Even so, he still trains hard afterward.
“Even though you’re on dialysis, there’s still a life that you can live on dialysis. You can still move mountains, as we will the next couple of weeks,” he said.
His grit and dedication have spread to those closest to him, including his CrossFit trainer Steve Lucero.
“Just his determination, the guy doesn’t stop. He’s ridden more miles than anyone I’ve ever seen,” said Lucero.
“He started just walking to the front door and back, and the next one was walking to the sidewalk and back. So it’s true; it is step by step and it inspired me to live better, eat healthier,” said Denise MaNguyen, Du’s aunt.
Du begins his coastal journey Monday in Santa Cruz. He’ll stop to get dialysis every few days at clinics along the way.
He expects to reach San Diego on October 12.MORE NEWS: 2 Arrested for Defacing Santa Cruz 'Black Lives Matter' Street Mural With Skid Marks