LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Nearing Kentucky Derby 147, the barns on the backside operate like clockwork. Every team member works long hours to keep the horses healthy and safe. That’s certainly the case at Barn 33, for six-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert.
While Baffert’s mind is always on his contenders, lately his heart has been with his groom.
As Derby contender Medina Spirit took it easy nearby, Baffert’s groom, Silvestre de Jesus Garcia Garcia, worked away in the barn, dedicated to the horses, as he has been the last 10 years.
On the outside?
“He never complains, never complains,” Baffert said, “I say are you sure you’re OK? He says ‘I’m fine.’”
Far from fine, Silvestre, known as Silver, needs a kidney and because he has polycystic kidney disease. He’s told one day, his 9-year-old son will need one too.
Exercise rider and friend Humberto Gomez translated for the Guatemala born groom.
“He says he’s been, for about five years looking for a kidney,” Gomez said. “The last year he’s been like even more worried about what’s going on because he’s the head of the family and just waiting for somebody to help and somebody to show.”
“I’m trying to help him out to get a kidney because, he’s so deserving of it,” Baffert said. “He’s one of these guys that I want him to see his little boy and I want him to grow up to see his dad and it just breaks my heart you know every time you see the little child and he sees his dad going through this.”
Baffert said he truly understands as his own mother went through kidney issues.
“She was an older age, but I know how tough it is, on everybody, so hopefully we can find a kidney for him and let that little boy watch his daddy and he can watch his son grow up,” he said.
Baffert said he’s learned over the years there are a lot of good people out there. He’s hoping one of them will want to be that living kidney donor.
Silver has type O blood and is working with a transplant team.
If you would like to help or get more information head to the Facebook page Mulligans Living Kidney Donors, a Louisville based non-profit, or call 502-544-2334.