‘I owe these guys so much’: Transplant recipient gets special sendoff in Royal Oak

Robert Fryer got some last-minute encouragement before leaving for 2022 Transplant Games of America

An extra special sendoff happened on Monday as the hospital system marks 50 years of transplants.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – An extra-special sendoff happened Monday at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak as the hospital system marks 50 years of transplants.

One of them was Robert Fryer, who fought kidney disease.

Fryer was on dialysis until everything changed when he got a kidney transplant.

“I owe these guys so much,” said Fryer.

The kidney transplant survivor’s cheering squad seen in the video player above has been there for every step of Fryer’s recovery.

“He’s been positive from day one,” said Beaumont Hospital Social Worker Deanna Sklarski. “He’s been just positive through the whole experience, encouraging and really inspiring other people.”

Fryer was getting some last-minute encouragement himself before leaving for the 2022 Transplant Games of America.

“It’s overwhelming, very overwhelming, but I appreciate it,” Fryer said.

The Downriver survivor will compete in bowling, pickleball, basketball, and poker.

The games are considered the Olympics for the transplant world.

“I wonder why I’m the lucky one,” Fryer said. “I’m very blessed to be able to do this and have a normal life now since my transplant.”

“It’s been so nice to see how he has taken this opportunity, this transplant, and lived his life to the fullest,” Sklarski said. “It’s amazing. We’re all so proud of him.”

“Since 2018, a lot has changed for a lot of us, I’ve lost a lot of team U.S. teammates, and I’ve lost some team Michigan teammates, and I’m going to miss them, and I’m dedicating these games to them,” Fryer said.

The transplant center that helped Fryer is celebrating 50 years of saving lives, and he hopes his story encourages others to donate.

“We’re alive because of you, because of the donor families, we got these transplants to live, and we’re alive, and we’re going to keep living,” Fryer said.

Fryer is heading off to San Diego for the games.


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.