Ex-karate champ in life-or-death fight

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityOn Sunday, the 44-year-old former karate champ’s supporters will host a benefit to raise funds for his foundation, Kidneys Quest. Organizers plan martial-arts displays, live music, comedy and card games. They will auction off martial-arts and music memorabilia, including a rare guitar signed by members of Guns N’ Roses. Doctors diagnosed Urquidez, a San Fernando general contractor, with the disease seven years ago. They gave him six months to live, but by watching his diet and staying in shape, he managed to stay relatively healthy. Now, constant fatigue slows his still-imposing frame. Reluctant to ask for help at first, he came forward when he saw that a kidney transplant would incur tens of thousands of dollars on top of his insurance. He has found three potential organ donors for himself but wants to use the foundation to spread awareness and funds for the transplant process for himself and others. “This doesn’t end with me,” he said. “The foundation is to help everyone in need of a kidney. I went through seven years of dealing with this, so I think other people can use what I learned.” His uncle William “Blinky” Rodriguez, a kick-boxer and anti-gang activist, has gotten involved, calling in favors and spreading the word throughout the martial-arts community. After Rodriguez’s wife, boxing pioneer Lily Urquidez Rodriguez, died of kidney failure in January, the fight took on even more urgent meaning. “We don’t want to lose him,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not used to asking; we’re used to giving. … But now, we need some help.” brent.hopkins@dailynews.com (818) 713-3738 The Our Gang Poker Run benefitting Arnold Urquidez Jr. is Sunday, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. at Route 66 Classic Grill, 18730 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on Sunday. Call (818) 590-4606 or (818) 521-6348, or e-mail kidneysquestfoundation@msn.com for more information.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From the first time he stepped into the ring at age 3, Arnold Urquidez Jr. always battled. Following his famed father, Arnold Sr., and uncle Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, he built his body into a hardened fighting machine. As he grew up in Mission Hills, he earned his black belt in karate at 15 and drew on his family legacy in martial arts to instruct others. Now, he’s in a different sort of struggle, fighting off kidney failure. With only 8 percent function in both kidneys, a condition brought on by childhood scarlet fever, he recently began dialysis and hopes a transplant will help him regain a normal existence. “This is my fight for my life,” he said. “But with God and my family on my side, there’s nothing I can’t do.” last_img

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