Chicago Police

Johnson's Search for Kidney Donor Shines Light on Others in Need

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who has dealt with kidney disease for more than 30 years, may have found the kidney match he needs.

While it's still not official, the superintendent's son hopes to be the donor - and both are taking the necessary steps should they go through with the surgery.

The spotlight on Johnson has proven inspirational for others also in need of an organ donation, as the top cop's story is helping others get the word out about how important it is to consider what's known as the gift of life.

One of those in need is Rachael Jackson-Towns, who is in need of a kidney donation after her symptoms began about 15 years ago.

"When I was 17 years old, I had symptoms that we weren't sure about and in the long run it became lupus. Lupus lead into my kidney failure," Jackson-Towns said.

She's grateful that Johnson has spoken publicly on organ donation, as she's been waiting four years for a donor.

Her family has created a Facebook page appealing to those whose blood type is AB positive or O to consider being a match.

"I just love that she's taking this in stride and she's been such an encouragement to me and to our family, and I definitely want everyone to know how inspirational she's been," her sister Stephanie France said.

"It's not as scary as it seems, once you start the process, and when you do start the process you get to realize that you can survive with one kidney," Jackson-Towns said, adding that her family has been a source of strength.

"I have a young daughter who will be 13 in a couple of months, I need her to stay positive for me too," she said.

As Superintendent Johnson leads awareness for organ donation, he's also getting in shape, losing 35 pounds.

"They did recommend that I lose some weight to make the recovery time a little bit easier, so I passed that threshold, so I should be in pretty good shape when the time comes," he said. Though it's not guaranteed that he will be Johnson's donor, his son has focused on his health as well ahead of the potential process.

"He has to lose some weight because they are more strict on the donor actually than they are on the recipient, so he said to me, I gave him life, so he wants to give me life," Johnson added.

While Johnson and Jackson-Towns have not met, their two families share a common prayer. For Jackson-Towns, her hope is summed up best by the phrase "the sooner, the better."

For more information on Jackson-Towns' journey, and how you may be able to help, visit her Facebook page 'A Kidney for Rachael.'

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