49ers fan undergoing dialysis due to kidney failure feels spirits boosted by team’s march to Super Bowl

The term “die-hard 49ers fan” get thrown around a lot, but few meet the literal definition the way San Jose’s Bruce Ventura does.

That’s because when he’s not sitting in the front row at Levi’s Stadium or traveling to away games to support the team, he’s in a kidney care center for life-saving treatments.

49ers fan Bruce Ventura, who schedules his dialysis treatment during trips to away games.


“I’m currently in dialysis. I get up at 4:30 a.m., I’m here at 5:30 and get out by 9:40. This is how I get my day started.” Ventura said.

He does his dialysis treatment three days a week. It wasn’t always this way. It was just last January when he got very sick at the 49ers-Raiders game in Las Vegas.

Doctors diagnosed him with kidney failure.

“I remember getting in the ambulance and telling my dad that I would be right back. But I wasn’t,” Ventura explained. “I didn’t come home for 11 days. I’ll always remember that.”

With dialysis, he was stabilized, but not free from risk. Infections put him back in the hospital twice in eight months.

“It was rough. 2023 has been real rough, but I’m still here,” said Ventura.

Which makes what he did next even more remarkable. Ventura bounced back enough to be in the stands for the 49ers’ first game of the season against the Steelers.

He booked a flight, a hotel and an out-of-town dialysis treatment in Pittsburgh just so he could go to the game in person.

“At the clinic, they said, ‘You have all the way to Pittsburgh to watch a game and you’re on dialysis?’ They were just laughing at me,” said Ventura. “I said, ‘I know, but this is my first time.'”

“But at least we won that game,” he added with a smile.

He did all that again in L.A. to see the Niners take on the Rams. And now he’s got a dialysis date in Vegas, the day before Super Bowl Sunday, which is where he will be with or without game tickets.

Bruce is hoping prices drop into his range as a recently retired group counselor for the probation department.

“As for the Niners, they are like a family to me.  And you’ll do anything for family,” Ventura said.

But when it comes to his health, what Bruce really needs is a kidney transplant. He’s on the list and waiting.

Ventura said the wait and the worry has been a lot more bearable in this, his most difficult year ever, with his beloved 49ers boosting his spirits along the way.

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