James Worley & Collin Conedy Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Cliff Conedy was born in Compton, California and is one of seven children. He grew up in a happy, loving, Christian home for the first seven years of his life. On March 16, 1960, everything changed when his father died at the age of 45 from what would later be diagnosed as hereditary cardiomyopathy. Nine years later, his mother died from hypertension and kidney failure. He, alongside his three younger brothers, moved to South San Francisco to live with their older sister. In 1973, he moved to Las Vegas on a football scholarship to UNLV. The 1974 team he played on is the only undefeated football team in UNLV history.
After a career-ending knee injury while playing with the Southern California Suns’ professional football team in Anaheim, CA, he returned to Las Vegas and started a career in the casino industry. He was in the industry for over 34 years and worked in various positions including a dealer, box person, floor supervisor, pit manager, shift manager, and casino host.
In 1994, he was diagnosed with “cardiomyopathy”, which is an internal heart defect that causes the heart to enlarge and the functionality of the heart to decrease. In his case, it was a hereditary defect that affected the males in his family. Not only did he lose his father to this disease, but over the years, he also lost his older brother at age 49, his younger brother at 56, and his nephew at age 53. While working at Caesars Palace, his heart continued to deteriorate and, in 2008, took a turn for the worse. He passed out at work on the casino floor and was transported to a local hospital. After 15 days in the hospital in Las Vegas, he was flown by medevac to UCLA. When he arrived, the functionality of his heart was down to 5%. He was hospitalized for a total of four months. After finally being placed on the organ transplant list as 1A, he spent five days patiently waiting and desperately praying that someone would be his hero. He was blessed to receive a second chance at life from his donor hero, James Anthony Worley – a man from California who would have never crossed Cliff’s path, but now, his heart beats in his chest and constantly reminds him how lucky he is to be alive.
Unfortunately, after weeks of taking care and being there for his youngest son, Collin, Cliff also lost him on December 3, 2017 (he passed away from the same hereditary cardiomyopathy that had taken the lives of his other family members). His son was admitted into the University of Washington Medical Center to have an LVAD installed. Since Cliff was a nine-year heart transplant survivor, he travelled to Washington to be by his son’s side as his primary caregiver. One of the hardest things he’s ever had to do was to watch his son go through his transplant journey. After his LVAD was installed, he developed complications. While trying to remove fluid from his body, his kidneys became infected, his lungs started to retain fluid and he ultimately developed pneumonia and passed away before a heart became available. Collin became a donor hero by giving the gift of sight to two others.
Cliff continues to share his thankfulness for the gift James gave to him and, being a recent donor father, he knows the true devastation of waiting for a gift that doesn’t come. Bring hope to the over 33,000 African-Americans waiting by registering to #BeAHeroLikeCollin: www.registerme.org #NMDAW #GiftOfLife #HeartTransplant #DonateLife