Xavier Magazine

Profile: Pat Kreke

X Days | Earned his degree in three years while playing for the Musketeer baseball team.

Working Days | Kreke began teaching at Fenwick after graduating and is now in his 24th year at the school. He taught physical education and health until four years ago when he was named the school’s athletic director.

Glory Days | He coached the school’s baseball team to the state championship in 1981 and to the final four in 1982. As an assistant coach on the basketball team, he helped the team to the 1982 state title. As the head basketball coach, he led the team to two league titles and the final eight in 2001.

Hall Monitor | In the 1980s, he volunteered in the oncology ward at Children’s Hospital. “I would play with the kids or take them out of their rooms to give their mom or dad a break,” he says. One of the children he met was Leigha Hall, a little girl who needed a bone marrow transplant. Kreke decided to get tested to see if he could help her. He wasn’t a match, but three years ago, he was notified that he was a potential donor for a 1-year-old boy with leukemia.

Matched Set | After a series of tests, he was picked to be the donor. “It was just an overnight stay in the hospital. They take the marrow from a bone in your hip. There’s very little pain. As much good as bone marrow does, it’s a very simple process for the donor.”

Opportunity Knocks Again | His friends Pat and John English have an adopted son, Marc, who was born with only one kidney. Last spring, Marc went into renal failure and Kreke had himself tested to see if he could donate one of his kidneys. He matched and donated.

Health Benefits | Both recipients are doing fine today. So is Hall, who eventually got her transplant as well. While Kreke has seen Marc recover, he’s yet to meet the little boy with leukemia, who lives in Canada. Kreke asked to meet the family, but is waiting to see if they’ll agree. “That’s what makes this exciting, the chance to meet some day,” he says. “Just that feeling that you had something to do with someone’s recovery. It’s an exciting feeling.”

New Attitude | “I think that any time you do something that affects somebody else, it helps you with your outlook on life.”

Game Notes | “As a coach, your whole life revolves around the game. But it is just a game and you realize how lucky people have it if they’ve been blessed with good health.”

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