"Just share the love:" Simple request brings support to man facing health crisis

 David Scroggins performs on stage in this photo from Topeka Civic Theatre. (submitted)
David Scroggins performs on stage in this photo from Topeka Civic Theatre. (submitted) (WIBW)
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 10:54 PM CDT
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David Scroggins loves two places: the stage, and the kitchen.

"I've always called myself a bit of a ham," he says of his time performing in community theater. As for the latter, "I love the idea that food brings people together."

But life cooked up a bit of a different script in recent years.

"Four years ago, I had a kidney failure and a stroke at the same time," he said.

A kidney transplant last fall failed. Now, he's developed a rare condition called calciphylaxis.

"Calciphylaxis is basically a buildup of calcium in the body that basically starts eating away from the inside out," he explained.

The disease has invaded his feet and ankles. Doctors are making plans to amputate both of his legs below the knee.

"I struggled already with the idea already of being 44 and being in a nursing home. But then the idea of losing not just one, but both my legs was a really tough and hard pill to swallow," he said.

David says his "four Fs" make it easier: faith, family, friends, and food!

One of those friends is his Washburn University roommate and now Broadway performer Jeff Kready. When Jeff heard the news, he asked David what he could do to help.

"I jokingly told him, I said, 'You know, sometimes I just need something a little bright in my life. There are days when I want to feel like I walked into a florist shop in my room,'" David laughs.

Jeff sent a plant, and - unknown to David - posted his simple request to Facebook.

"The next day, I got 13 plants. I then responded to him, 'What have you done?' I think we came to a stop around 40 - and my room is not that large!" David said

The cards came rolling in, too - piles of them - including bright drawings from children.

"It was beyond overwhelming," David said. "I would say half of my cards and a third of my flowers came from people I didn't know, and they would say, 'We just wanted to continue to express the love for you.'"

It's not just flowers. The outpouring also is provides a gift David hasn't had in a while - a way to share joy with others. It may not be a meal or a song, but he did have plenty of flowers to spread throughout the nursing home.

Many of his fellow residents, David says, have not received flowers or a letter in a while.

"Just share the love," David says. "There's a lot of things going on in our country and planet that would contradict all of that, and you can just take one moment to call someone you haven't called in a while, or send a letter. If we can just all do that a little bit more, to people we know - and like in this case, to people you don't know - we can be so better off and we can just live a little happier."

As for David's next act, he says there's no need to worry.

"I will accept every ounce of encouragement and love, but there's no need to feel sorry for me," he says. "God's got a plan."

Doctors are planning David's surgery for early July.