Huntsville’s rock man has big heart: donates kidney to save his friend


It’s been almost 40 years since Rudi Stade saved a life, and he’s done it again.

Helping his loved ones is just normal, selfless fashion for Stade. Back in 1981, he saved his brother’s life after he was hospitalized when his brother developed aplastic anemia caused by exposure to toxic wood that had poisoned him. Because of Rudi’s blood type, he was successfully able to give his brother enough blood to save him while he underwent rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

Today, Stade gave his close friend, Luis, a new lease on life by giving him a kidney. This precious gift will allow his longtime friend, who has been experiencing kidney failure as the result of a hereditary disease, the chance to have a normal life. Because of the transplant, Luis will not need to go on an intense dialysis regime.

“I had no clue this was happening to Luis until he told me back in December,” said Stade in an interview with Doppler on Tuesday. “This is my dear friend. Of course, I want to help him. He makes me laugh until I can’t ever. We’ve been friends for years and we’ve never had an argument.”

He left for Montreal on Sunday morning, where his friend resides, and said he was “absolutely at peace” with his decision to donate his kidney. According to Stade, Luis told him he’d rather have one from Stade than anyone else on the planet and because of Stade’s belief that the energy of a person is transmitted onto the organ recipient, Luis was extremely grateful to be receiving a kidney from someone he knows and trusts.

I can’t remember his exact words of gratitude, but he said he was completely relieved to not have to be subjected to dialysis for the rest of his life.

Stade said he wasn’t nervous about the surgery itself but had a little apprehension about the recovery time. The surgeon told him it would likely be a month of recovery but to give it at least two months before he should start lifting 300-pound rocks.

Rudi Stade on one of his benches

Rudi sits comfortably in one of the beautiful benches that the Town commissioned him to make years ago. His gift for making unique rock furniture is one-of-a-kind.

There are many sides to the local 59-year-old, who is affectionately known as Huntsville’s own rock man. Stade makes one-of-a-kind rock furniture and his work can be seen around various locations in town. He’s generous (he’s donated his rock furniture) and he’s kind (he volunteers for PAWS) and he’s also an eclectic intellect (that’s evident by his Facebook posts and the interesting messages he shares with his friends).

“I answered hundreds of questions and passed all the tests and scans with flying colours. To quote John Conner from Terminator, ‘He must live.’”

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  1. Thank you, Susan and Oliver.

    To clarify: The blood poisoning was apparently caused by pentachlorophenol in the Pentox brand wood preservative. The formula was changed to be less toxic a few years later. My brother required a bone marrow transplant so I donated half a litre of mine from my pelvis, and what seemed like a gallon of blood.

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