I believe in the love of a father.
Grant Johnson, my now 8 year old cousin, was born without a working kidney. Thanks to the technological advancements within today’s medical field, the doctors immediately diagnosed the problem and put Grant on dialysis. Dialysis is an artificial replacement for a kidney that cleans the blood of the individual it is attached to. Grant was on dialysis for a few years, which required his family to make daily trips to the hospital in order to monitor his blood levels. Although this alternative was keeping my cousin alive, it was not the most efficient or effective option available. The doctors decided that a kidney transplant was necessary and would be beneficial for both Grant and his family in the long run.
The kidney is an incredibly unique organ. A person of any stature’s kidney can be placed into a body of any size and it will effectively increase or decrease to the appropriate size of the new body and then continue to grow with it, as necessary. Another important function of the body is that it only needs one it’s two kidneys to survive. Because of these impressive qualities, a live transplant was possible. Grant’s father, Mike, was the first to volunteer to donate one of his kidneys to his three-year-old son, even with the knowledge of the restraints on his own life he would experience post-surgery. He would have to be overly cautious with such things as alcohol, physical activity, and medication. Also, Mike would have a high risk of high blood pressure causing him to have to take certain medications for the rest of his life. Any damage done to his kidney would put Mike at great risk because he would not have the second kidney to fall back on if the one malfunctions. After appropriate testing was complete, Mike was determined an eligible candidate for the transplant so the family set the date for surgery.
On the day of the transplant surgery, our whole family waited anxiously for both father and son to wake up. Although the possibility was fairly remote, there was still a chance that one or both of my family members would not make it through the risky eight-hour procedure. Nearly 3 hours after the completion of the transplant, Mike and Grant opened their eyes to their new lives.
I believe in the love of a father and the strength and willingness it holds. He sacrificed part of his own life because of the love he has for his son who now has a functioning kidney. Grant will no longer have to spend the majority of his life in a hospital room but live with the high hopes of having a normal childhood and beyond.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.