Senior Taylor Karlo didn’t think she was going to get to play this season for the Olentangy Liberty volleyball team.
She was diagnosed with autosomal dominate polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) at the end of the club season in June.
ADPKD is a disease where cysts filled with fluid form around the organ, enlarging it … eventually leading to failure.
“It was a lot of information at once and a very stressful time for a little bit,” Karlo said. “I have my team, my coaches, my friends – they have my back. So, I knew I could lean on them.”
Karlo was cleared to play after getting a second opinion. She was told to avoid hitting her back, which could cause a cyst to rupture.
“I have a lot of back pain and I get nauseous sometimes because of the blood going through my cysts,” she said. “But, I get to do what I love – so, I’ll fight through it.”
“I know what type of gamer and competitor she is,” Liberty coach Jen Chapman said. “Obviously, her health is number one. We were ready to deal with it either way.”
Karlo has been a key contributor on the team since her sophomore year.
“Thankfully, she got the all-clear and it’s just been a blessing,” Chapman said. “Just what she brings to the court – not just her volleyball skill – but, she’s just a fighter and she’s got a good energy about her. I’m thankful that we’re able to have her on the court to be able to participate.”
Still, Chapman worries whenever Karlo lands.
“Especially letting her serve and play defense,” Chapman said. “They’re not too worried about her in the front row. But, if she hits the floor wrong or lands on her back – that’s the worry.”
Currently, there is no cure for the disease.
“As of now – there’s nothing really you can do,” Karlo said. “Eventually this is going to lead to dialysis or a kidney transplant. We’re taking it one day at a time … that’ll probably happen in the future. There are some treatments that I can do to help make the cysts smaller or help the pain go away.”
Karlo is participating in the PKD Foundation’s Walk for PKD Oct. 20. Liberty hosts Olentangy Sep. 25, which will serve as a way to help Karlo fundraise for the walk.
To donate, visit Karlo’s Walk for PKD page at https://pkdfoundation.salsalabs.org/centralohiowalk/p/taylorkarlosfundraisingpage/index.html.
For more information on the PKD Foundation, visit: https://pkdcure.org.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.