Zeringue family takes American Bible Challenge


By Donna Thornton/News Editor

J.R, Kelley and Rene Zeringue tested their Bible knowledge for a nationally televised game show that aired May 2 on the Game Show Network, as a way to raise money and awareness of living organ donation.

The Zeringues’ “Team Hello Kidney” competed on “The American Bible Challenge” for a total purse of $140,000, to go to the National Living Donor Assistance Center, which provides reimbursement of expenses based on financial need for those who volunteer to be living organ donors.

J.R. Zeringue is the owner of ACE Gym, and a cheerleading/gymnastics coach. Kelley Zeringue is a Christian romance author, published under the name Rene Andrews.

In addition to her novels published as part of Harlequin’s Inspire series, Kelley was one of a select group of writers invited to write devotionals for Guideposts 2013 collection, available now. Their son Rene is a youth minister.

Kelley is a living kidney donor herself.

In 2010, she learned Matt McCallum — then an ACE cheer coach — needed a kidney transplant.

“I really felt that God was testing me to move in that direction,” Kelley said in an interview at the time. “The doctors kept telling me that it would be a long shot, but I knew I’d be a perfect match.”

McCallum had faced health problems since age seven and his kidneys failed in 2006 when he was 21. He had been on dialysis since that time. He had been waiting for a transplant for four years, when he received Kelley’s kidney Nov. 11, 2010.

Both McCallum and Kelley are happy and healthy now, according to a press release from Game Show Network about the upcoming show.

“Besides having just about the most clever team name ever, the Zeringues give everything they’ve got on the show,” host Jeff Foxworthy said. “They do Alabama very proud.”

Kelley said someone connected to the show apparently saw a video made by the non-profit “Cheer for a Cause” about McCallum. McCallum was a collegiate cheerleader for Middle Tennessee State University, and the video was made to alert people to the cause of living organ donation. (See the video at www.reneeandrews.com, by clicking on “Living Donor” at the top of the page.) Someone from the show contacted the Zeringues and they went to Atlanta in December for an audition. Kelley said they went to have a good time, without any expectation of making the show.

In January they got a call asking if they could come to California for taping the next week.

And so they went. Kelley said they had to sign agreements that they would not reveal how they faired on the show until after it aired. Each team competing is earning money for a good cause, she said.

“Either way, God wins,” Kelley said.

She said it was a great experience, getting to meet people they had seen on television, like Kirk Franklin, musical director for the show, and host Foxworthy.

“He is as good a person when you meet him as he is on TV,” Kelley said.

There is a way you can help the Zeringues earn money for their cause, regardless of whether they won or lost on the show.

The GSN recently launched “The American Bible Challenge Fan Favorite.” Through May 19, fans of the show can go to the web site http://gsntv.com and vote for their favorite team. Fans can vote once a day through May 19.

Watch “The American Bible Challenge” at 8 p.m. Central on the Game Show Network. In the Gadsden viewing area, GSN is on cable at: Comcast channels 170 ad 1325 (HD); Charter Communications channels 144 and 846 (HD); on satellite: 4DTV channel W5205; C-Band channel G7006; DIRECTV channel 233; DISH Network channel 116 (HD); TELCO: AT&T U-verse channel 173.

The one-hour is now in its second season. The tournament starts with 18 three-person teams. Three teams compete against each other in the first six shows of the season and winning teams advance to pay in two semi-final games. During the season finale, which airs at 8 p.m. May 23, one team will be named champion, and the winning fan favorite will be announced.

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