You may not know his name, but more than likely you’ve heard his music before. He’s a member of rapper Pitbull’s Mr. 305 music label and the writer behind one of Pitbull’s biggest hits, Go Girl. But there’s a much deeper story behind New Jersey native David Rush’s story. The up and coming music artist nearly lost his life to a potentially fatal kidney disease a few years back. Thankfully he beat his disease and now he’s out to spread the word about a much overlooked problem plaguing minorities across the nation, kidney health. (Read our article on another health campaign.)
What’s your health like now as far as dealing with your kidney disease?
The kidney disease I was diagnosed with in 2007 was FSGS which is a rare kidney disease that is most known for affecting Alonzo Mourning and George Lopez. Basically it’s a slow moving kidney disease that is one of the rarest and takes the longest to develop symptoms, so by the time you find out its either right at the point where your kidneys are going to fail or it’s already too late. In my case I had to jump right into dialysis and I was on it for four years. The condition of my kidney now is actually great. I received a transplant on November 9, 2010 from my brother and he was able to save my life and I don’t have to do dialysis anymore. I’ve just been recovering since then.
Do you still worry about the disease coming back or is that threat now gone with the donation your received?
It definitely has a chance to come back to where I have to go back to dialysis. Of course it would caught way faster because of the fact that I’m having monthly check ups and taking my pills and doing all I can do to be healthy. You can either have a kidney from 10 minutes to 10 years or from 20 minutes to 20 years, but I’m trying ride this kidney out for as long as possible, so I’m just keeping up with my recovery and sticking in the gym trying to stay healthy as well as taking my pills that I need to everyday.
How did you first find out about your disease?
It was routine checkup. My wife was in college to be a medical assistant and I wanted to see how she did her job, so I came in and had my blood work and routine checkup work, and my numbers came back all crazy. That’s when I was sent to the hospital to check on that stuff and that’s when they found the disease and that it was almost at its breaking point to where I had a year left to live if I didn’t do dialysis and I would have had full kidney failure. So it was either dying or having to go through a real strenuous act to save myself and the little bit of kidney function that I had left.
You’ve also been slated to participate in this year’s Kidney Walk in New Jersey. Why did you want to be a part of that?
I’ve been aware of the kidney walks. I spoke at one in Princeton, NJ and I just came back from Washington last week after doing a big convention out there in D.C., which was great because there were over 3000 people out there. I also did one in Las Vegas and Phoenix, so I’m really involved in the whole community of transplanted people, the home caregivers or the current patients. I’m even scheduled to do something in Seattle and Connecticut soon, so I’m even involved in it even though I’m a former dialysis patient because I’m still involved in the dialysis world to spread the message of hope and following your dreams in the situations that we’re in. it feels good to give back and participate with them.
What’s the premise behind your newly launched web series Rushed?
It was basically three weeks before my transplant and the cameras just following me around and getting to know David Rush the artist and getting to know my disease to pretty much get a feel of what was going on with me as far as the kidney disease. With Rush we wanted to show an insight and kind of put the two together with music and the disease because I never really did that before. I always kept the two separate, but now with the part of my career that I’m and with me receiving a kidney I figured it was time to pretty much share with the world what I was doing this whole time and hopefully it will touch someone because we have a voice as artists to reach a lot of people at one time. I think me putting this together is just trying to build that buzz of awareness of this disease and others as well for young minorities and really all Americans no matter what your nationality is. It was really just done to promote kidney awareness and let people know that there are others out there going through this too. It also shows the music side of this and the struggle of having this disease and having to travel with machines and doing tours with the machines just so I could reach my dreams.
How was it making that decision to be so open about such a sensitive and personal part of your life?
I think it was when I made a song about it called Rush one time and people really took to it and understood it. My friends and my family knew of course, but the rest of the world didn’t, they just saw the outside shell of what was going on and didn’t really know what was going on behind the scenes. I wanted to share it when a lot of the kids where I was doing dialysis at were intrigued by me and becoming fans of me without even really knowing my music. So, I started to speak to this kids that wanted to be all these great things and just let them know that it can really be done. I wanted to spread that and it was mainly for that reason. After that it really took on a whole different feel when the adults started to take heed to it and basically fell in love with the story and related with it. Once that happened, I had t go through with it as much as I could to take it to a whole different level and bring a new insight to this side of myself.
How can people see it?
It’s definitely available on more than one outlet. People can go to my website, www.feeltherush.tv or www.welcometorushia.com. You can also go to my YouTube fan page. We try to have it out there as much as possible. There’s the first episode along with the trailer which is also a music video. We’ve been holding on to episodes 2 and 3 for awhile now just to really build a buzz and I hope people support it and really get behind it so that we can start to release the rest of the episodes and make it into something that can be really big.
Michael Mahon attended Clark Atlanta University, where he majored in journalism. He is a regular contributor to SoJones.com and has written for several other online and print publications, including Ballerstatus.com, Allhiphop.com, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and INsite Atlanta. Aside from writing, he is also a huge sports fan and film buff.