RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - William Johnson, 22, is asking for help to live a normal life.
The Clover Hill High School graduate and diesel mechanic received the crushing diagnosis 17 months ago. Now he’s searching for a living organ donor.
Asking someone for their kidney is a big request and Johnson says he would be forever grateful. He wants to work and contribute as an adult. William wants to live.
Right now, he is on life support five days a week for four hours and 26 minutes a day. Dialysis is keeping him alive but a kidney transplantation would eliminate the machine and allow him to live normally.
He says, “I get shortness of breath a lot. I can’t work like I used to work. I have to take time out to do my dialysis. It’s just not me anymore. It gets depressing at times but I just keep going. Don’t give up.”
Giving up was exactly how he felt Aug. 9, 2017. His first day of dialysis was on his mother’s birthday. It was also the same day he was diagnosed with kidney disease.
Carol Pride says, “We went from everything’s fine to our life turned around completely in one day.”
The sting in their struggle dates back six years. Doctors first mentioned his high blood pressure at age 15 but Carol says her son was never given medication until he suffered a football injury at 18. Three years later his kidneys failed.
She adds, “He was doing physicals. If your blood pressure is up, he should not have been allowed to play football. His nephrologist said to us, ‘This is just a bad case.’ He said when a teenager comes in with blood pressure that’s stroke level, you don’t ignore it or just don’t even treat it. You have to explore to see why this blood pressure is high. We were told that he was fine. ‘Lose a little more weight if you can. Be active. You know if you were in your twenties we would be concerned.’ I am very angry. I really am. I’m upset.”
The mother and son are also hopeful. Now 22, William is on VCU’s organ transplant list.
The mother and son hope that speaking with NBC12 will get people talking, and sharing William’s fight to live.
Carol adds, “If I were healthy enough and could donate I would. I just want somebody to feel enough compassion.”
On low days, his circle of friends support the big lovable guy affectionately called ‘Woody.’
William says, “I’m hoping somebody will give me a kidney. I’m hoping.”
If you would like to see if you are a match for William, call NBC12 at 804-345-1212 or VCU’s Hume-Lee Transplant Center. You can learn more about the living donor process by calling 804-828-4104 and asking to speak to a living donor coordinator.