"When they told me I was a candidate for a transplant, they said: 'We want to see if you can afford it,'" he said. "They asked me to raise $10,000."
Through special events and donations, Sutton, a Ball Ground resident, has raised about $7,800 so far.
Last year, the Cherokee County native was placed on a waiting list at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta for a kidney.
The surgery will cost $250,000 and about $2,000 a month for the drugs he will have to continually take after the operation.
"I'm going to have to do fundraising for the rest of my life," said Sutton, 58.
If he reaches $10,000, the Georgia Transplant Foundation may be able to double his fund.
On Monday, a group of friends and volunteers are hosting an event Sutton hopes will push him beyond that goal.
The Steve "Boomer" Sutton Benefit Golf Outing at Callahan Golf Links in Waleska will include a raffle, silent auction, tournament, driving competition and more.
"We have about 12 to 15 teams committed to play," assistant tournament director Butch Lawson of Canton said. "That's not bad for a first-time event."
Sutton, who lives with his wife, Stacie, and daughter, Erin, 12, is best known for his radio career, which started after he graduated from Cherokee High School in 1970.
In addition to working at stations across the county, Sutton was a disc jockey at 96 Rock and Star 94 in Atlanta.
He later earned two Emmy awards for hosting Georgia Public Broadcasting's "Georgia Outdoors."
Sutton currently works part time at WYAY-FM 106.7 Atlanta's True Oldies Channel.
After falling off a ladder and breaking his wrist nearly two years ago, Sutton, who has had diabetes since 1988, was diagnosed with renal failure.
After several months of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis treatments three days a week at a clinic, Sutton now does dialysis every night from a machine at home.
The change has helped his mental attitude, but physically he remains the same, he said.
"The doctor has told me they have seen some kidneys regain function, but not to get my hopes up," he said. "So I haven't."
Sutton said he's already experienced several highs and lows.
The most recent was about six months ago when his friend and former colleague from Lake 102 in Buford, A.J. Cannon, volunteered to be a living donor.
After more than a month of tests, doctors found that Cannon was a perfect blood and tissue match.
But the very last test found a small health issue ruled Cannon out as a donor.
"We thought everything would be great," Cannon said. "It was one of those moments where we went from high to low."
Sutton said the outpouring of support from his friends, former classmates, co-workers and the general community has been overwhelming.
"I lost it one day," he said after learning of a large donation of food for the event from someone he didn't know. "I was overcome."
After reuniting with Sutton over Facebook, Gail Richey, a classmate of Sutton's at Macedonia Elementary School, offered to help with the event.
"He's always been a likeable person," she said.
Diana Rich, another friend of Sutton said it is a matter of life and death.
"I'd want someone to help me," said the Woodstock resident, who is the entertainment coordinator for the tournament.
Lawson, who attended high school with Sutton, offered his golf expertise to help organize the event after he heard about his situation.
"We've all taken something under our own wings so it's not all on him," he said.
"It's one of those small-town-do what you can for your neighbor things," added Ms. Rich.
The tournament will include appearances from radio personalities like Randy Cook from 106.7 FM, Vikki Locke, Greg Talmadge from Kicks 101.5FM, Art "Mad Man" Mehring from WGST-AM and more.
"We figure if people come and have a good time, they'll want to come again," said Sutton.