Lexington transplant recipient spreading joy, awareness through haircuts

Posted at 10:45 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 10:32:31-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington man is trying to spread awareness through haircuts, 5 years after he received a second kidney transplant.

We first introduced you to Braxton Upthegrove when he was a student at Henry Clay High School, and he was a granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“It’s just amazing what God can do,” said Braxton.

Now, with a pair of clippers in hand, he’s focused on cutting hair and spreading a message.

“Sign up to be an organ donor. You can save so many lives,” said Braxton.

Braxton received his first kidney transplant at age 5, several years later he found out he needed another one.

“It was hard cause I was in school still. I had to be hooked up to a machine 10 hours a day,” said Braxton.

Braxton had to miss most of his freshman and sophomore years at Henry Clay High School. He couldn't go outside much or play sports due to his treatment.

Meanwhile, family and friends held countless organ donor registration events focused on finding a match.

“I was just praying something would happen. At first it was miserable,” said Braxton.

In May of 2014, Braxton's prayers were answered.

“My mom got a call from Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and she was screaming. She was like 'We found a kidney we found a kidney!' I was jumping up and down,” said Braxton.

Braxton and his family rushed to Cincinnati where he received a new kidney that same day.

“When I didn't have the kidney transplant I just felt miserable, tired. Now I have lots of energy, get to do what I love,” said Braxton.

5 years later, Braxton says he doesn't take a moment for granted.

“I'm just blessed to cut hair. Enjoy time with my family,” said Braxton.

He recently graduated from the Lexington Academy of Barbering. He hopes to soon take the test to get his license.

“What I always want to do cutting hair is to give back to people. And tell them my story,” said Braxton.

Braxton is now focused on using his skill to get the word out about organ donation, and to inspire others.

“Stay strong, don't give up. Whatever happens don't give up,” said Braxton.

If you'd like to register to be an organ donor or learn more, click here.