If you’re going
• What: Fifth Annual Hike 4 Hyde
• Where: Sawnee Mountain Nature Preserve, 4075 Spot Road
• When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
• Cost: Before Wednesday, $25 for adults; $12 children 12 and younger; $60 for a family of four
• For more information, visit www.hike4hyde.com.
A family vacation to Hershey, Pa., two years ago led to a special meeting on an Atlanta baseball diamond.
Johnny Tallant, grandfather of 6-year-old Hyde Talbot, bumped into Wake Forest University head baseball coach Tom Walter in the city, home of the famous Hershey chocolate.
Tallant said he knew of the coach because he had donated a kidney to one of Wake Forest’s players, Kevin Jordan of Columbus.
That gift was especially meaningful for Tallant as Talbot, now 6, had undergone a kidney transplant in February 2011, about the same time Jordan had received Walter’s kidney.
Talbot received a kidney from his uncle, Warren Chase of Pennsylvania.
“We were up in Pennsylvania visiting my daughter and we were at Hersheypark and this guy walked by with a Wake Forest shirt on,” Tallant said. “I got to talking to him and he was the coach.”
After hearing Talbot’s story, Walter invited the family to come to the team’s next game against Georgia Tech.
That ended up being two years later, but Tallant said Walter still remembered his grandson’s story.
Talbot is one of less than 600 people in the United States with hemolytic-uremic syndrome, more commonly known as Atypical HUS.
Prior to his kidney transplant in combination with a specific drug therapy, the genetic blood disorder caused Talbot’s immune system to attack red blood cells.
The condition, with which he was diagnosed at 18 months old, caused him to suffer a range of problems such as anemia, low blood platelets, severe high blood pressure and failure and removal of both kidneys.
On March 30, the family attended the Wake Forest-Georgia Tech game in Atlanta, where Talbot got to meet both Walter and Jordan.
“It was a fun day,” said Phyllis Talbot, Hyde’s mother. “I had told [Hyde] about the player’s kidney transplant, so he thought it was cool to meet him.
“They gave him a flat-billed hat, so I think he was more excited about that than anything.”
Added Tallant: “The coach was really nice and told Hyde he’d see him again, so if [Wake Forest] comes back to Tech again soon, we’ll probably go back.”
In the weeks since the baseball outing, the family has been busy getting ready for the fifth annual Hike 4 Hyde, a fundraiser that benefits the Foundation for Children with Atypical HUS and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Phyllis Talbot said preparations for the event, which will be “come and go” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Sawnee Mountain Nature Preserve, are going well.
She said over the course of the past four years, the hike event, which also offers a number of children’s activities in a festival-like environment, has raised about $113,000 for the two organizations.
“We’ll be having a lot of the same stuff this year,” she said. “There will be bounce houses and slides, cotton candy, popcorn and face painting and treasure hunts for the kids.”
She said the event will also feature the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth’s pediatric ambulance and the hospital group’s mascots, Hope and Will.
There will also be a number of raffles and other activities for families.
“We’re just hoping it doesn’t rain,” she said. “Everybody’s just excited because everyone always has so much fun.”