We had the good fortune of connecting with Edward Drake II and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Edward, how does your business help the community?
My name is Edward Drake II and I’m the founder & CEO of the YNOTT? Foundation “Youth Needing Organ & Tissue Transplants”. Our organization impacts lives across the country by providing a support system that educates and mentors pediatric transplant patients on the importance of staying compliant both pre- and post-transplant and improves their transition to adult care. We provide college scholarships and host transplant anniversary parties for participants in our organization. We host disease prevention & awareness events in the community to help prevent future diagnosis by educating youth on healthy lifestyle choices and other preventive measures. Lastly, we actively promote organ and tissue donation in the community.
YNOTT? has provided support to thousands of transplant patients nationwide since our inception in 2007, been featured in numerous media spotlights, and received a number of awards and honors for our services in the community
What should our readers know about your business?
I hail from Ohio. I grew up versed in sports and even had the opportunity to pursue both football and track on a collegiate level. In addition, I have always had a passion for business and entrepreneurship. I am a creative soul who creates in the face of risk and uncertainty, for my purpose in life is to Inspire and Impact Lives. Purpose guided me to become the founder and CEO of the YNOTT? Foundation (Youth Needing Organ & Tissue Transplants). YNOTT? is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to pediatric transplant patients, increasing awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation, and promoting disease prevention and wellness in the community. Our organization educates pediatric transplant patients on the importance of staying compliant both pre- and post-transplant, and seeks to improve their overall transition to adult care. We host many kinds of health awareness events in the community to educate youth on healthy lifestyle choices and other preventive measures. We seek to reduce childhood obesity and improve youth fitness and nutrition. Lastly, we actively encourage and promote organ and tissue donation in the community.
I was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease in the summer of 2006. It was during my sophomore year of college as I was pursuing a life-long dream of playing football and becoming the first college graduate in my family. During one of those routine physical examinations, the doctors were so shocked by my blood pressure level (reading 248/119) that I was immediately rushed to the emergency room. And on that day, my life changed forever. In the prime of my Life—at the height of my athletic and academic careers—I literally went from a college campus straight to a hospital bed. I had kidney failure.
During my three years on dialysis I often griped and complained to myself, questioning, “Why me? Why now?” Then the man above placed in my spirit “Why not you?” Then it transformed into an inspiration, “Why not apply your survival experience into an offer of hope to others who are in similar circumstances of organ failure and other life-threatening illnesses? Why not teach them how to fight as you are doing?” Such a challenge emerging on my inside in spite my pains! And through pain, fear, and faith, along with a passion for helping youth like me, I was inspired to form The YNOTT? Foundation. Success was given a new meaning.
Once the Lord revealed to me His purpose for my Life through what I was going through and blessed me with a platform (YNOTT?) to help others, my attitude towards my situation changed—and so did my altitude in Life. I was elevated above the “me only” to the “you as well” order of life. I then stopped complaining and started striving to be a blessing to others. I never knew I, too, would receive healing from the same support groups I was hosting for pediatric transplant patients and their families. The feeling of touching lives along this life journey has been priceless. Success to me means fulfilling your calling in life and encouraging others to do so as well. This is what ultimately guarantees being happy and at peace in life—which should be a must for everyone because life is short.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a huge fan of sports. All of our sports teams have amazing venues however the Battery at Truist Park is my favorite because of all of the dining and entertainment options in addition to the stadium itself. Depending on the time of year, I’m sure we’d check out a professional sporting event. The next day, I’d take them by Sweet Water Creek to go fishing and take in some breathtaking scenery. We’d then head down to grab breakfast at Thumbs Up Diner before visiting the iconic Martin Luther King Jr National Historical Park. Other restaurants we’d have to go to during the visit would include Rosies, Busy Bees, and of course Mary Mac’s Tea Room for some of the best southern cuisine.
One thing Atlanta does not have a short supply of is beautiful homes. Being big into real estate, I’d drive them by some amazing neighborhoods to view some of the beautiful estates here in Atlanta.. Before the trip is over I’d be sure to stop on the 17th St bridge near Atlantic Station to get a great pic of our amazing skyline. Lastly, an absolute must is driving by Tyler Perry Studios to be inspired. I drive by there often when I need inspiration and can’t help but to think “YNOTT? ME” everytime I see it!!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for allowing me the opportunity to utilize my gifts and talents to Impact the lives of others. I would like to thank my mother Vera and Pops Sidney for all their love and support, and for always pushing me to be great and a valuable asset in the community. A huge thank you to all of my close family members (siblings, wife, grandparents, mentors, cousins, and in-laws) for all their support. I want to thank all my YNOTT? family members over the years who played a role of any size in helping to build this life impacting platform we call “YNOTT?”. There’s too many individuals to list but please know that I haven’t forgotten one single person out the nearly 100 individuals who’ve passed through over our 15 years of existence.
Lastly, I would like to thank my kidney donor Lianne who when asked said “Yes” to register to become an Organ & Tissue Donor”. In her death she gave me a second chance at life. It is now my life’s purpose to sh0w my gratitude by striving to Inspire and Impact the lives of others in the community. I now ask everyone “YNOTT? Register to Become A Organ & Tissue Donor Today”!!! Someone’s decision to register saved my life and it could very well save yours or a close family member in the future.