Almost three years ago, AJ Burgess was born prematurely without working kidneys. Knowing that he would need a transplant one day, his father got tested as a potential donor.
According to the GoFundMe that AJ’s mom, Carmellia Burgess, created, AJ’s father, Anthony Dickerson, was “a perfect match.”
Sadly, just when the couple thought their son was going to have a chance at a healthy life, Dickerson was arrested on Sept. 28 for violating his parole. As CNN reported, he was “accused of being in possession of a firearm while fleeing and eluding police.”
He was released from jail five days later, and their surgeries were scheduled for the following day. The family’s attorney, Muwali Davis, told CNN that the reason the transplant was postponed until January was because Emory Healthcare in Atlanta “required proof that Dickerson had complied with parole for 90 days.”
The problem was that 2-year-old AJ wouldn’t be able to survive until January without a properly working kidney.
Davis continued by saying Dickerson’s “parole probation status should not, as far as we’re concerned, be a factor at all.” Following the pushback that came with Emory’s decision to postpone the transplant, the hospital’s officials began working to find a solution for the family.
On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Carmellia received the phone call that gave her the “miracle” they’ve been waiting for. They had a kidney waiting for AJ.
Davis told CNN:
“The transplant team contacted them and said, ‘We have a kidney,’ so they scrambled down here for the last-minute tests that had to be done. The family arrived about 5 a.m. for those tests, and the transplant team took baby AJ back at 7:30 a.m.”
The surgery took about three hours, and AJ will remain in the hospital for about a week to ensure things continue to go smoothly. Carmellia wrote:
According to Davis, the family is “planning a meet-and-greet in January for AJ’s third birthday” to thank people in the community for all their help. But the family is currently asking the public for privacy as they spend some time together.
However, Davis told CNN that AJ’s parents want to encourage others to sign up as kidney donors so that other people can experience the joy of a second chance.