29 years old - Springfield, Missouri - Featured on September 29, 2010
Hip Hop MC Balances School and Family
Jason Toliver, Fresenius Medical Care dialysis patient, inspires others through his music and positive attitude.
Jason Toliver is a 29-year-old from Springfield, Mo., whose kidneys failed in 2000 when he was only 19 years old. At first, he didn’t notice the signs of being sick, but when he was told he’d have to start dialysis the diagnosis hit him hard. His doctors couldn't pinpoint the cause for his end stage renal disease (ESRD), but they thought his kidneys failed because, like many African Americans, he had a predisposition for this disease.
Jason received a kidney transplant in 2002, and was healthy for four years, but when he became sick with a severe flu, the transplant failed. After this setback, he started in-center hemodialysis again, and receives his treatment at Fresenius Medical Care River Cities in Springfield. Today, he works as a hip-hop MC and promotes kidney disease awareness in his community.
Throughout his first diagnosis and transplant failure, Jason had moments where he was angry and depressed, but he knew that he needed to stay strong for his family. His daughter was young and he didn’t want to miss any of her life. She inspired him to stay positive and get healthy again.
“Everybody falls, so you can choose to stay on the ground and feel sorry for yourself, or you can get up even when it hurts," said Jason. "Dialysis is three to four hours each time and can be tough, but life can pass you by in a moment, so live it and love it. Trust me, it’s worth it.”
In addition to working as a hip-hop MC and receiving dialysis treatments, Jason attends Ozark Technical Community College where he is working on a degree in business and marketing. Additionally, Jason hosts benefit concerts called “Music is Medicine” to help raise funds for kidney disease patients and their families.
Jason will graduate in the fall of 2010 and is getting married in September. He has a daughter, a son and two stepsons.