On Sunday, Oct. 5, World Extreme Cagefighting athlete Jeff Curran is stepping out of the cage into a whole different type of fight in memory of his father, John Curran. Jeff has a team in Sunday’s “Step Out to Fight Diabetes” Walk. The walk is used to raise awareness and funds to help stop diabetes.
Below is Jeff’s personal story:
MY FATHER, JOHN N. CURRAN SR., DIED AT THE AGE OF 40 DUE TO COMPLICATIONS FROM DIABETES THAT HE HAD SINCE HE WAS 18 YEARS OLD. MY DAD LEFT BEHIND MY OLDER BROTHER, MY MOTHER, MY SISTER AND HIS ENTIRE IMMEDIATE FAMILY BY LEAVING AT SUCH AN EARLY AGE. THIS IS MY STORY!
My name is Jeff Curran. I am currently 31 years old, father to my son Ty and husband to my wife Sarah. We are currently awaiting the arrival of son number two (another boy) who is due December 26th this year. My biggest sadness in my life is that my boys will never get to know the wonderful person that their late Grandpa Curran was. It will be one of my life long goals to make sure that they understand how my dad molded me to become the person who I was in such a short stay with me on this earth.
When I was about 9 years old my parents were divorced. We (my brother and I) stayed with my mom and my dad went to Florida to be by his parents. A few short years later, he relocated home because he missed seeing us on a daily basis and he knew that in order to be a bigger role in our lives he needed to be closer. My family was very short of money and was dealing with Alcohol abuse from my Mom’s new husband. In a turmoil of life as a teenager, my dad made my life that much better the day he moved home. I missed him more than I could imagine and I awaited every holiday and summer break just to be able to spend normal time with him.
Shortly after my dad’s return home from living in Florida, when I was about 14 years old, he began to have complications with his disease that he had since he was 18 years old. I was my dad’s best friend and I couldn’t stand being away from him. He moved in up the street from my house so I could spend a lot of my time with him. As time went on, he was in and out of the hospital countless times from suffering diabetic comas, kidney failure, etc… He went into dialysis three times a week for almost 12 months and I watched him slowly lose control of his body and its normal functions. I had to hook him up to IVs, drive him to doctor appointments and watch the paramedics save his life more than a dozen times on my own kitchen floor. My dad was always in good spirits, always joking with everyone and always trying to teach me a lesson along the way.
My dad got a call on my birthday one year that he had a kidney that matched his tissue and blood type. He said, “Our birthdays are going to be the same from here on out Jeffy.” I was so excited I can’t explain it. I was just turning 17 years old. He underwent the surgery and all looked to be good. His heart had taken a little beating from all the years of stress on it, but was strong enough for him to get through the kidney transplant. He now had one kidney functioning and the other shutdown and removed completely. After the surgery he healed very fast and felt full of life. Here he was, 39 years old and feeling reborn. Against my suggestion and other family members, he choose to go back to laying carpet and working as much as he could to make up for lost time (that’s just how he was). A few months into his rehab he was working and got a staple in his finger. This was the beginning of his end.
Coming home from work his finger almost immediately had an infectious look to it. I said, “Dad, you got to get that looked at. Your medicine in your body is to lower your immune system so you don’t reject the new kidney.” My dad was a bit stubborn and talked his way out of going to the doctor. He had enough with them I guess. A few days later he decided it was worth looking into. Turns out that the staple hole turned into Staph infection and spread quickly through the body and soon settled in his one new kidney and killed it immediately. His body was entirely infected and when he went to have the kidney operated on and went back onto full swing dialysis, he stayed that way for another year. The stress was so bad on his heart that the doctors were now concerned that he may not be able to endure another surgery if they find another match of a kidney for him.
Shortly after finding this news, he was full swing on dialysis and heart medication to help strengthen it. Around Christmas time of 1995 my dad called and said that they found another kidney and that he had to rush into the hospital for routine testing to make sure that his heart would endure the surgery. My big brother, John, said he would take him and that I should go do some of my own stuff as I was pretty consumed a lot of the time helping my dad get by. It was hard times for all of us. I remember my brother calling and saying that during one of the tests at the hospital my dad slipped into a diabetic coma, but it turned out to be even more serious than that. I immediately rushed an hour away to the hospital to see him. There he was, helpless. I stayed with him what seemed to be months, but was closer to two weeks sleeping in the hospital lobby until they finally gave me a waiting room with some blankets. They came to tell us on the last day that my dad, at the age of 40 years old, had no more than 13% brain function at this point and they were seeing no signs of him coming out of this coma. If he were to wake up, he would be full-time on a respirator, full-time dialysis, feeding tubes and have zero brain function and possibly paralyzed from the neck down.
I knew my dad and I knew that not everyone may agree with me, but they asked my brother and I to decide what we think would be best to do. I made the decision with him that he should be taken off life support and that he would kill me and never forgive me if I let him live like that. My dad loved life, he loved to have fun and he loved his family more than anything in the entire world. A few nights before he went into the hospital he told me he finally, based on a letter I wrote to him, invited Jesus into his life because he was afraid and didn’t want to be alone. He seemed to know everything and in this case it was just more of him knowing what was going to happen. He had a feeling.
He left behind a wonderful family, one without much money, but one with a will to survive, just like him. One with a work ethic that is second to none and one that will always honor him for everything he has given to us in our lives. We love him and miss him always. I was 18 years old when my dad passed away, January 3rd, 1996. I followed my dreams as he expected me to and I never stopped moving forward because he told me all the time that, “You will never make it to the top if you only go half way.” I live by those words. I am a professional fighter and have been since I was 20 years old. I have been studying in martial arts and traveling the world doing so since I was 15 years old. I just purchased a 2 million dollar building in honor of my dad and opened my brand new training facility where I train and teach the general public in martial arts. Because of my dad and his work ethics instilled into me I have been honored to receive a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and have been ranked as one of the Top 5 featherweight fighters in the world for the past eight years.
I have never told this story to any of my media outlets for my sport. I have made small blurbs about it over the years, but never felt like I was in a strong enough position to make a difference in raising funds. Now, with my success as a fighter, my fans and students and the support of my family and team and with the help of my agent, I feel I have a position that is strong enough to reach a huge audience and help bring notice and funds to the ADA and to show my dad that I am not done fighting the battle that he had to fight until the day he left. We all love him and are willing to do whatever we can to help.
For more information about my story or to research a profile/bio on myself, please visit the following websites or contact my agent, Brian Butler for ways that we can cross our media up and help bring awareness to this cause for the long-term.