LAGO VISTA (KXAN) — The connection between father and son is a bond greater than most. Throughout his football career, former Longhorn linebacker Dusty Renfro has relied on his dad.
Renfro played for the Longhorns from 1995 to 1998, leading Texas in tackles in his junior season. During this holiday season, Renfro gave his dad a priceless gift.
He gave him a future.
On a house boat in Lago Vista, Dusty Renfro ditched traffic for Lake Travis. In some ways, a return to the quiet calm of his childhood.
Renfro and his entire family moved back to Austin two years ago searching for a renewed way of life. For Renfro’s dad, Terry, it was a necessary pursuit.
“It was a family effort to get him into shape,” Dusty Renfro said.
“I knew that if I was working out with him we’d get it done because you tend to procrastinate when you do it by yourself. I needed that motivation,” Terry Renfro said.
In bad health, Terry Renfro needed a change. He needed a workout partner and no one fit the bill better than his Longhorn linebacking son.
“Every time I’ll say that’s enough well he’ll start giving me those little one-liners that Maddog (Jeff Madden) used to give him. I’ve just always told my son that they could accomplish anything they set their mind to and so it wasn’t going to be fitting to teach them that as little boys and then me as an adult not follow through with it,” Terry Renfro said.
Working out flat out worked. The Renfro father and son helping each other. In three years, Terry Renfro lost a significant 113 pounds. The significant purpose came with it.
“When that doctor looks you in the face and tells you that you have cancer and your kidney’s are failing it’s just like…well, that’s surely not me he’s talking to,” Terry Renfro said,
The goal– find a kidney transplant. That’s when fate and family stepped in.
“We’re going to get you in shape and I’m going to give you a kidney,” Dusty Renfro said.
Though the intentions were clear, challenges remained for Dusty’s ultimate gift to his dad. Terry Renfro needed to lose weight for a transplant. Dusty needed to shed some of his own to donate. It didn’t even include a father grappling with a son’s sacrifice.
“We just don’t like the idea of a perfectly healthy son going into surgery it’s hard to take a gift like that from your child,” Terry Renfro said. “I called him I said well i’m not going to take the kidney and he said ‘well, dad if I needed one would you give me one?’ I just went with that because I knew that I would give him one.”
With a talk between father and son, a future was extended throughout the Renfro tree.
“I had a talk with my sons and I said look, this is the right thing to do. I just told them…we are supposed to give until it hurts,” Dusty Renfro said.
The Renfro’s underwent successful surgery in early December. Dusty giving of himself for his dad. As for their workout plan– it’s still intact just with a break for recovery.
“He’ll go oh man, that hurts so bad…I’ll go no, you know what hurts? Having a kidney removed that’s what hurts,” Dusty Renfro said.
“The guilt deal he puts guilt on me. He also said that he never has to buy me a birthday or Christmas gift…that he’s paid up. I agreed to accept that,” Terry Renfro said.
During a holiday based on giving, this is one gift beyond value.