Greg Hasberry and his daughter.
It was a normal fall day for bodybuilder and trainer Greg Hasberry. He was preparing for a fitness contest, a routine he had performed many times before with ease.
But as he began going through the steps of his workout, he realized something was very wrong.
“For some strange reason, I just couldn’t get through,” said Hasberry, owner of Elite Fitness and Figure in Hoover. “I went to my mother’s house and ended up staying on the couch for six hours.”
Later at a hospital, Hasberry suffered double acute renal failure and discovered he was in need of a kidney transplant. Hopes were high when his brother was discovered to be a match. But doctors ultimately determined he had hypertension and could not be a donor.
Suddenly, Hasberry found himself buried in medical bills and in desperate need of a kidney.
“It’s been just as much an emotional ride as it has been physical,” Hasberry said.
Hasberry has a long history of helping a diverse range of clients achieve healthy, active lifestyles. After his clients heard the news about his health, they decided to return the support their trainer had given them over the years. In his honor, they organized the 5K race, Hearts for Hasberry, which will be held Oct. 6 at 8 a.m. at Veterans Park.
“A big group of us got together and decided to do something to help him pay his medical bills,” said Sarah Anna Harris, a lead organizer of the race. “He’s a single dad, and he’s had to put a lot of activities on hold.”
Hasberry said he was speechless when he found out his clients had organized a huge event specifically for him.
“I was floored,” Hasberry said. “I was absolutely humbled to pieces.”
All proceeds of the race will benefit Hasberry and his family. Registration for the 5K is $35 and includes a T-shirt and race pack. There will be prizes awarded to the top female and male finishers, and Harris said there will be massages available for runners after the race.
“We’ve already raised $5,000,” Harris said. “He’s gone through lots of different procedures. We are just trying to help out as much as we can.”
Hasberry’s clients describe him as a humble man who has helped them achieve their dreams. Emily Thomas said this past winter, Hasberry traveled with her to competitions where she won in her division thanks to his coaching.
“Even though he has dialysis three nights a week, he still manages to put his competitors first,” Thomas said. “He’s a happy and giving person, and it’s been an inspiration watching him through all of this.”
Client Suzie Chitwood has known Hasberry for more than 20 years and constantly turns to him for advice when she needs a listening ear.
“Greg changes lives.” Chitwood said. “He has taught me to fight, work through the pain, move forward and don't look back. I have a greater belief in myself because of him.”
To keep up with Hasberry’s journey, visit the “Find a kidney for Greg Hasberry” Facebook page where Hasberry posts regular updates about his search for a donor.
Hearts for Hasberry
5K race & 1-mile family fun run
Sunday, Oct. 6