Having recently been diagnosed with Stage 5 Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), an extremely rare disease that disrupts the part of the kidney that filters blood, Brett Epps ’06 is facing his “greatest opponent ever” as both his kidneys are currently functioning at a minimal 13 percent.
Brett Epps ’06 is a dignified teammate, champion wrestler, brother, friend, musician, and son. All who have been privileged enough to get to know him understand that above all, he is a extremely versatile and tough role-model.
Having the most wins in Rutgers Prep wrestling history with three Somerset Country Championships and 113 high school wins, Brett not only made a huge impact on Rutgers Prep athletics, but also gained the love and support from the community. This explains the immediate outpouring care from current students, alumni, as well as others who have been privileged enough to meet Brett.
Brett’s illness has inspired the whole Rutgers Prep community to take action to help in any way possible.
The biggest impact so far towards helping raise money for Brett was from the sports teams on Rutgers Prep Athletic day. On October 25th, with the help of Mr. Lamb and Mr. Epps, the Wrestling team, along with the Boys Lacrosse, Soccer, and Volleyball teams sold and wore t-shirts designed by the Epps family for Brett.
The shirt shows two wrestlers along with the slogan, “Fight Strong. Grow Strong.” below the image, it says “Battling for Brett”. All 550 of the shirts that went on sale were donated by Romit Patel, who did so in support of his cause.
So many Rutgers Prep Argonauts, past and present, are determined to help Brett in any way possible, given that he is a loved and adored member of the Rutgers Prep family. Aside from the community support, Brett’s brothers, Kacy ’09 and Cody ’12, have provided Brett with an incomparable amount of assistance.
Everyone on the RPS Wrestling team can attest to the fact that everyone looks up to Brett. They see him as a role-model, even though they have never wrestled on the same team as him. Whenever Brett comes into the wrestling room to help coach, everyone always listens carefully because of the vast knowledge that he can provide.
Coach Lamb remembers an inspiring story about a single match where Brett defeated his opponent with a broken hand. Within the match, Brett was faced with two options: leaving the match with the injury or fighting through to victory. Regardless of what surrounded the situation, Brett chose to win.
Brett chose to ignore his injury and continue to fight to the best of his ability, and so he did, and won. Brett’s determination is applicable to any situation in life, and evidently proves that one must be mentally strong to be successful.
Because of Brett’s toughness and ability to make the best out of any situation, it was not a surprise that he DJ-ed his own event on athletic day, and simply had fun regardless of his illness.
“Looking at him, you would never know he’s sick,” Mr. Epps said about Brett, “His laughter reverberates through the house just like it always did and, of course, when he’s with his brothers, there’s a special kind of craziness.”
With the continual love and support from the Rutgers Prep community, along with the outcry of support from the wrestling community, together we will fundraise to help Brett through his kidney disease, and most importantly get closer to finding him a living donor.