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Posted on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Ex-Michigan football walk-on Dave Knight's story highlights new "Be a Hero at the Big House" organ and blood donor event

By Nick Baumgardner

Dave Knight doesn't consider himself a hero. His decision was never a question of if, but when.

But hero or not, Knight's choice saved his father's life.

A former Michigan football walk-on quarterback (1986-89), Knight donated one of his kidneys to his father, Tom.

As a result, the Knight family remains at full force.

"It's just doing the right thing, and I'm very grateful to have been taught this belief by the person to whom I donated, my dad," Dave Knight said Monday. "At Michigan, the team always comes first. We support each other, we play for each other and when a teammate needs help, you give it to them."

Suffering from kidney failure due to complications with diabetes last year, Tom Knight's only option for survival was a kidney transplant.

Once he was cleared as a donor match, Dave and Tom had the transplant performed by Dr. Jeffery Punch, the University of Michigan's Chief of the Section of Transplantation Surgery.

Since the surgery, Dave says he's continued to live a normal life with just one kidney. He's an avid golfer and ran a half marathon a few months after the operation.

And, more importantly, his father is still alive.

Knight's story is one Michigan hopes will spur interest in its upcoming "Be a Hero at the Big House" event. The new event, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Michigan Stadium, will allow participants to donate blood, sign up for the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and be screened for bone marrow donation.

In addition, participants will be allowed to tour the stadium's club-level seating area. Those who donate at the event will be entered in various raffle drawings for athletic tickets and autographed souvenirs.

Those who can't attend are urged to sign up to be an organ donor at

The entire initiative is part of Michigan's annual blood and organ donor competition with Ohio State. The competition ends at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 24. Michigan will host Ohio State at Michigan Stadium on Nov. 26.

To sign up for blood donor appointments, visit To sign up for bone marrow donor registration, visit

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Wally the Wolverine

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Good story - very cool.