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Much like a musical instrument, the human body needs to be finely tuned in order to perform properly. Few people understand this analogy better than Ritchee Price of Riverside, RI.
Price, a Berklee College of Music graduate, has been the band director at Portsmouth Middle School since 2000. An accomplished trumpet player, he has toured with the likes of Lionel Hampton, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Price’s musical talent has taken him around the world, to places like Japan, Paris, and to the White House. But when the time came for him to receive a lifesaving kidney transplant, he found the care he needed right in his own backyard, at Rhode Island Hospital.
One day in 2008, Price was teaching when he began feeling extremely ill. “I couldn’t keep my head up,” he recalls. When his wife arrived at school to take him to the doctor, he was so disoriented and sick that he didn’t recognize her. His kidneys were failing: one was not functioning at all, and the other was only working at 8% of its normal function. For several years, he received dialysis. All the while, he kept working, and even exercised to remain as healthy and active as possible. Then, on a March night in 2012, he received the phone call that would change everything: a donor kidney was ready for him. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where, that night, he received a transplant.
Today, Price attributes his continued health and well being to his strong faith, as well as his love for his wife and son. Music remains both a profession and a passion. In his free time, he enjoys playing shows in Rhode Island and beyond, as well as attending concerts, giving private lessons and conducting music clinics in and around New England.
In 2014, Rhode Island Hospital reached a milestone, performing its 1,000th kidney transplant. Thanks to the generosity of organ donors, the hospital has now given more than 1,000 individuals, including Ritchee Price, a second chance at life: and it’s a chance that he isn’t taking for granted. “I received a kidney that allowed me to stay on this Earth, so that I can teach my students what they’re supposed to do in this life,” he says. When asked whether he has a ‘bucket list’ of things he’d like to do in the years ahead, Ritchee’s response is simple: to one day, in retirement, have each morning resemble the perfect ‘lazy Sunday,’ complete with “newspaper, coffee and toast, and time to practice the trumpet.”
Nowadays, thanks to the generosity of an organ donor, the man who spent years feeling weak and tired shows no signs of slowing down.