RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - William “Woody” Johnson is closer to recovery after a kidney donor was located.
Johnson, 22, is a graduate of Clover Hill High School and his search for a living donor will end either March 11 or 12. Those are the days Johnson is expected to receive his new kidney after getting a call Tuesday that was like a big dose of fresh air for his family.
“As soon as I get the kidney, I’m calling Davita Dialysis and they can come get all of this," Johnson said of the life support equipment on which he currently relies.
Johnson is sprinting toward his transplant like the competitive athlete he is. The transplant will performed in a robot-assisted surgery. Dr. Chandra Bati will perform the surgery at VCU Medical Center. He is the first on the East Coast to perform a robot-assisted transplant, and Johnson will be his 12th patient.
“When she first said robotics. I was like oh, no," Johnson said. "She was like you are definitely are going to want to do the robotic surgery. If a human did the surgery, I would have like a big incision here. But, with the robotics they are just going to do four across my stomach and one down the middle.”
Johnson’s mother, Carol Pride, said the living donor from whom he will receive the new organ is a 95 percent match. Should something go wrong with that organ, one of Johnson’s friends’ girlfriends is a back-up option
“He didn’t know how many people supported him and so many people stepped up," Pride said. “People that we didn’t even know. Just to say hey, ‘let me help.’”
Johnson does not know the donor’s identity and won’t know unless the donor agrees to be revealed. Pride thinks it might be a stranger she met several months ago.
No matter whether he meets the donor, his life is about to undergo a drastic change.
“Originally they had said four to five years to get a kidney, and once we aired it, it hasn’t been 2 months yet,” Johnson said. "It’s really heartwarming. There are no words to express or say thank you enough. I don’t know really what to say. I am just baffled. There’s no words I could say to thank them enough for doing this.”
Johnson works as a diesel mechanic and says he can’t wait to get back to work and help the family that has given up so much to take care of him.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Johnson and his family with the many expenses they have already incurred and will certainly have after his kidney transplantation.
You can see our previous story on Johnson here.