Darlington native, longtime dance teacher in desperate need of a kidney transplant


When Darlington native and dance teacher Tina Hathcock was nine years old, she underwent surgery to remove one kidney leaving her with only one functioning kidney. Fast forward fifty years later and Hathcock is currently in kidney failure and in desperate need of a kidney transplant.     

As a child, Hathcock was very sick and saw doctors in Florence, Charleston and Columbia trying to figure out what was going on. After getting no answers, she and her family traveled to Duke University in North Carolina and got the answers they needed. 

“I’ve been going to Duke my entire life for checkups,” Hathcock said. “I’ve seen many doctors and knew the day was coming when the only kidney that I have was going to decline, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be this soon.”

Many may know Hathcock for the lives she touched through her love of teaching dance with her mother,Patsy Hathcock, who owned and operated a studio in Darlington for many years.  Tina later opened her own studio, “Showbiz Studio”, in Florence in 2004.  She has taught many generations of children from pageant winners to those that went on to make dance a career.  Hathcock taught all ages, even up to what she called the “Granny Dancers”; but recent struggles caused her to shut the doors to her studio because she was too sick to keep it open.

“It broke my heart to close the doors of the studio,” Hathcock said. “The decline in my existing kidney has gotten so bad that I couldn’t work anymore.”

Currently, her kidney is only operating at 16%; and with dialysis not being an option, a new kidney from anyone matching her blood type and antibodies is an immediate necessity.

According to Hathcock her surgery will be a little bit tricky.

Her current kidney is so large and there is limited space to put in a new kidney. She is under the care of the kidney transplant team at Duke which includes a Kidney Transplant Specialist, RN Coordinator, Financial Services, Clinical Social Worker and a Transplant Surgeon.  

“We may have to put the new kidney on the right side,” Hathcock said. “When I had my surgery as a child, they had to take all the tissue out which is different than most people have done when they have a kidney removed.”

Not only is Hathcock in need of a kidney, she recently had to sell her home and move into an apartment just to keep her head above water. With the closing of her dance studio, she has no income and is waiting to find out if she can get disability which could take up to months or even years to be approved. Additionally, the surgery can cost well over $400,000 which does not include travel and hotel expenses while at Duke. Even with the insurance that Tina has, she will still be responsible for coming up with 20% of the costs for the surgery.

A Facebook page titled Team Ms. Tina “Tina Hathcock’s Fight for Life” has been set up in hopes of finding a donor and a Go Fund Me page has been created to help Hathcock at htts://gofund.me/d5b9b2bb. Individuals are encouraged to go to her Facebook page and donate any amount of money that they can. If you are interested in becoming a donor, visit the website https://redcap.duke.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=9EHPAAPMFM 

According to a recent Facebook post from one of her friends, Tina Hathcock is not one to ask for money but is in dire need. 

“I want to live and eventually be able to open the dance studio back up, I’m ready to put my tap shoes back on” Hathcock said. “I have determination and I am not gonna let this get me down.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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