By Kathy Walsh
(CBS4) – A Denver Bronco is determined to help thousands battling a disease you don’t often hear about. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that usually affects the lungs. Anyone can get it.
For Broncos defensive lineman Zach Kerr, finding a cure is personal.
“I’m trying to be the best Zach I can be everyday,” Kerr told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
For the Bronco that means doing damage on defense. He’s a force on the football field.
“I find something that makes me angry about the person across from me and then I just kind of try to let it all out,” Kerr explained.
Not so at home. With wife, Iris, and 8-month-old Enzo, Kerr is a devoted husband and dad.
“He’s our little ball of joy for the whole entire family,” said Kerr.
That includes Kerr’s mother, Tinya, also known as Noni.
“I am the biggest momma’s boy in the world,” said the 334-pound football player.
So it’s been especially hard for Kerr to watch his mother battle what’s called sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease where immune system cells clump together in an organ.
“Hers is attacking her lungs, her respiratory system. One day it’s okay. The next day she’s inflamed and needs to be on a breathing machine,” said Kerr.
He said he worries about her all the time.
But Kerr has turned anxiety into action. He is the national spokesperson for the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research. The rate of the disease is higher among African-Americans. Kerr wants to promote awareness.
“I just want sarcoidosis to be one of those things that people are fighting for,” Kerr said.
Kerr wants people fighting to find a cure.