Lional Dalton


“When the unthinkable happens, the lighthouse is hope. Once we choose hope, everything is possible.” – Christopher Reeve

Known as Jelly Roll throughout the NFL, my real name is Lional Dalton. For nine seasons I played on five teams throughout the National Football League, winning one Superbowl, and I’ve been recognized as one of the best defensive tackles in the league. At my biggest, I weighed 315 pounds. 315 pounds working tirelessly for nine years on the football field took its toll on my health. I was forced to retire after a spinal injury, but it was years later that my body really started to suffer after decades of playing the game.

I started to suffer from high blood pressure, arthritis and kidney issues. “A lot of that comes from all the medication and blows to the body.” Those blows eventually led him to be in chronic pain, and in January 2020, I was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure and immediately put on dialysis. “It was a shock to me, I knew I was getting sicker each day; I knew my body was fighting against me, but I didn’t know it was this bad.” It’s so bad that I have dialysis now several times a week and am in urgent need of a new kidney. “I’ve lost almost 100 pounds, I’m eating as healthy as I can, exercising and doing everything right, but unfortunately playing football for all those years did come with a price, I loved football and still do; I just think nine seasons is way too long to play professionally.”

I was diagnosed with kidney disease in January 2020 after I went to a local fire station because I couldn’t breathe. My blood pressure was so high it was almost stroke level. I was rushed to the hospital and there it was determined I had end stage kidney failure and was in desperate need of a kidney. My kidneys are functioning at about 17% which because of my size means I’m at dialysis three days a week for just over 4 hours each time. When I’m there I miss sooo much. I have two little girls at home, Sade and Skye and I am ALWAYS missing something that they have going on. Also so much of the daily housework, taking care of the kids falls on my wife because I am so tired all the time. I feel like I am missing out on the best years of my girls lives.

It would mean I can watch my son play football in the NFL. I can walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. I can see Sade graduate from kindergarten. I can help make Thanksgiving dinner or decorate for the holidays. I can travel with my wife again and enjoy date nights without being so exhausted we always leave early. It would mean a whole new way of life for me.

So many people say wow Lional you’ve lived such a great life, Super Bowl winner, author, traveled all over and while all of the us true, I’d give it all away in a second to have my health back. Without your health you have nothing. This is why I need you. Your help. I need a living donor to come forward and help save my life. Help ensure I can be there for all those milestones with my babies. Let me watch them grow up. My kids need their daddy and my wife needs her husband. Just as much as I need them. On the outside looking in you may think everything is ok, but the reality is every day I go to dialysis is one day closer to me dying. That’s just the raw truth. I don’t want to miss out on one thing in my family’s life and I don’t want them to miss out on having a daddy. If you donate the entire process can be 100% confidential. I am asking for you to please consider being a donor and please share my story so more people can see it and hopefully one of them will be my match.


Become Lional Dalton's Donor

If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Lional Dalton's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire

Johns Hopkins Hospital

1800 Orleans St, Baltimore, MD, 21287

Did you know?

Medical expenses for living organ donors are 100% covered, and inquires from potential donors are 100% confidential! Contact the Transplant Center to learn more about living donation.

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