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Kenny Niemitalo has one clear mission: Get Jordan a kidney now

Time is of the essence and Kenny needs us to know that.

Quantrell Colbert/NBC

As of season 11, Kenny Niemitalo has dedicated six years to American Ninja Warrior. For the past four years, the show has been much more than just a competition. It’s been a lifeline. In season eight, Kenny shared that his young daughter, Hazel, was in need of a kidney donor. A viewer stepped up and made that possible. Since then, Kenny has dedicated every single moment on the course to helping other children find kidney donors.

In season 10, Kenny ran for Liza and Deelard (who both found donors). He shared that message over three stages when he completed the Miami Qualifiers and City Finals, and ran on Stage One at the National Finals.

Back for season 11, Kenny has one thing on his mind: Jordan. Jordan is eight-years-old and in desperate need of a living kidney donor.

We caught up with Kenny throughout his season so far to ask about the progress he’s made. He once again completed the Qualifying course. In the City Finals, he was very close to completing the course, but couldn’t find traction on the tenth obstacle, the Spider Trap, ensuring a return to Vegas. However, Kenny had zero interest in talking about his success. His mind was only on his mission: Get Jordan a kidney now.

“My motivation is finding Jordan a kidney. I definitely have my own goals. You know, I’ve always got my eye set on totally victory, but my motivation is definitely, my mission is Jordan this year.

Jordan is eight-years-old. He is on his last dialysis port, which means once that one is done, he has no other options. So he needs a kidney ASAP.”

“I want the audience to know what I’m capable of on the course, but more importantly, why I’m running, and that’s for Jordan. That’s for all the kids like Jordan out there that need a kidney transplant just to live, because that’s the bigger picture in life for me.”

“Before I had the mission to find kidneys for these kids, I was so focused on myself and my own goals that I couldn’t get focused. Everything was always a blur. I put so much pressure on myself, I had so much expectation for myself, that everything, I just couldn’t get focused. Having a totally different mission now lets me focus more on them, and less on myself, and lets my body just do what it needs to do on the course.”

“When the last couple seasons have ended, it’s kind of a waiting game from there for me, because my mission is to find kidneys for these kids. If I can hit some buzzers along the way, that’s fantastic. Those are my goals, but when I get the call saying Liza received a kidney, Deelard received a kidney, that’s when I process, and everything is just worth it all.”

Kenny will continue his mission of finding Jordan a kidney on Stage One of the National Finals. To learn more about living kidney donation, visit: Kidney.Org/LivingDonors