Health Check: NBC 10 Summer Blood Drive
?Richard Price has no problem playing his trumpet on demand, much to the delight of his sixth-grade band students.
Most of them know of his storied career as a jazz musician.
In the 1980s, he was asked to play with jazz great Lionel Hampton. He recalls what Hampton said to him one night before a concert.
"'I want you to play on the last song of the night. You're going to play the last solo.' And I did and that was when he really heard me," Price said. "After I got off the road with Hampton, I got a call do a tour, two-and-a-half week tour with Count Basie Orchestra."
Price likes reminiscing about those days, which includes playing at the White House three times. But these days he's more about teaching students to become the best they can be.
When his children were little, more than 20 years ago, Price decided to stay home. He took a job as a band director and he's been in Portsmouth the last 14 years. Nine years ago, after he said he was tired all the time, he was told one of his kidneys had completely stopped working.
"And the other one was only working at 8 percent," Price said.
Price underwent dialysis, until a kidney donor was found in 2012.
"I really needed blood. Just with them putting that kidney in I needed a lot of blood, that's why I thank the Rhode Island Blood Center and donors," he said.
Price said he lets his students know about the kidney transplant and the importance of becoming organ and blood donors when they're older.
"To me the most important thing, and I have to keep it in my brain that I'm only teaching children how to play music, but in my own roundabout way, I don't care if they become famous musicians. I want them to be extremely good citizens," he said.
NBC 10 is holding its summer blood drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 23 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.
Price said he'll be there to personally thank all blood donors.