After weeks of waiting, a life-saving kidney transplant for a 2-year-old is finally a go.
According to the A.J. Burgess' mother Carmellia, Emory Healthcare called around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night to say they have a deceased donor that is a perfect match for him. Family was on their way to the hospital immediately to do final blood work. Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.
WXIA's Natisha Lance spoke to A.J.'s father Anthony Dickerson at the hospital who said "Words cannot describe" how they're feeling right now.
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The 2-year-old boy, who has become known as "Baby AJ," was born without kidneys. A.J's father Anthony Dickerson was a perfect match to be a donor, and was scheduled to donate his left kidney, but he was blocked from doing so after he was arrested for violating his probation. Since then, family had been fighting to get A.J. the life-saving transplant.
"I'm going to whatever it takes to get my son a kidney," Dickerson said. "I appreciate the community for supporting us."
Emory Healthcare had been the focus of numerous demonstrations and prayer vigils over its denial of the kidney donation. Facing mounting pressure and criticism, Dr. Jonathan Lewin, the CEO of Emory Healthcare, apologized for what he called “a breakdown in communication” with the boy’s parents.
The statement was issued after Lewin met with Dickerson and Carmellia Burgess, along with their attorneys and other members of the community. It also followed A.J.'s hospitalization for an infection and pneumonia.
"It is our desire to continue to work with A.J.'s parents to work through this process," Lewins said. "We want a successful transplant for A.J. and we also want a positive outcome for his father or any other potential living donor."
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After 11Alive initially reported on A.J.'s story, offers for organ donations poured in from all across the country, including Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.
“I didn't think a stranger would be like, 'Oh let me just give him a kidney.' That’s a big decision to give an organ,” Carmellia said.
Now, A.J. is finally getting the transplant from an unknown donor, opening the door for him to get a second chance at life.