Retired wide receiver Roy Green was a star for the Cardinals franchise for a dozen years before retiring in 1992.
He returned to the Cardinals organization and became a fixture of the Phoenix community and the team’s front office.
AZCardinals.com wrote this week that Green has fallen into failing health in recent years, which has included the need for a kidney transplant from one of his daughters. And his recovery has been helped by the inspiration from an old friend in the Bidwill family.
Green said it was a “direct result” of all the anti-inflammatories he took to relieve the pain of playing in the NFL. A year ago he started dialysis three days a week.
“It was just terrible,” he said. “My kidneys had completely failed.”
His days on the golf course were over, at least temporarily. A walk the length of half a football field would sap his energy for the day. He lost muscle. He was weak all the time.
“That was the biggest thing, going from an athlete and being well conditioned and never being tired to being tired all the time,” Green said.
Green’s family took it harder than he did. His ex-wife and two daughters have been steadfast in their support, through every appointment and check-up. But then his daughters, Miyosha, 30, and Candace, 26, offered the ultimate sign of support.
Both volunteered to donate a kidney to their father.
Miyosha was the one picked to donate and the successful transplant took place Nov. 14.
He has also received support from Nicole Bidwill — the only daughter of Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, who has known Roy since she was 11 and he was 22 — when they would talk on the team flights about school and boys and life.
Decades after sitting with Green, Bidwill has spent more time thinking more about those moments since learning about Green’s Kidney Disease. The two strengthened their friendship during the last year through text messages and phone calls.
“I was so worried about him,” Bidwill said. “I felt just worried about him. I wanted him to be OK. I didn’t want to lose my cherished friend.
“I prayed every day that the operation would go well.”
Nicole was “volunteered” to participate in a local “Dancing with the Stars” competition to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, an event that is scheduled for Feb. 22. Though not a dancer, she agreed to compete in honor of Green.
Green was touched and humbled when Nicole Bidwill told him about the dance. He’s attended a few of her practices and he’s awed by how much work it takes to perfect what looks like a simple dance move.
And now Nicole Bidwill knows what it’s like to be Green, putting in hours of work to perfect their craft.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life because the dances look at lot different than they feel,” said Bidwill, who grew up playing soccer and tennis, and riding horses. “You’re having to learn so many different things. You’re having to tell your muscles to do the opposite of what you learned to do through sports.
“I’m having a blast.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor