Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, who continues to battle kidney disease as he waits for a transplant, said his son has matched as a potential donor, but there's one thing he needs to do first.
"Well it turns out that he is a match so he has to lose some weight because they are more strict on the donor, actually, than they are the recipient," Johnson said during an interview with NBC 5 Monday morning. "He said to me I gave him life so he wants to help give me life."
Johnson himself has already lost 35 pounds as he prepares for surgery.
"They did recommend that I lost some weight to make the recovery time a little bit easier, so I passed that threshold," he said. "So I should be in pretty good shape when the time comes."
Johnson has been vocal about raising awareness for kidney disease since news he needed a transplant became public. He first learned of his diagnosis when he took the medical exam to become a Chicago police officer.
“This is not going to beat me,” he said. “I was told at 25 years old that I would probably need a new kidney in three or four years. Here we are 31 years later and I’m still putting along with these two puppies in me, right.”
Johnson spoke earlier this year as part of the first organ summit in Chicago, as city hospitals look to become the nation’s organ transplant hub and match more donors with those in need. Currently, there are 4,7000 on the Illinois waiting list.
“It’s overwhelming,” Johnson said. “The fact that people walk up to me on the street and say, ‘Hey, if I’m a blood match, I would give you my kidney’ -- that’s just incredible.”
Though Johnson has known about his health issue for years, a transplant wasn’t necessary until now.
But he doesn’t just want to find a match for himself.
“Organ transplants are so desperately needed and the thing is, we can do it,” he said. “It’s not a heavy lift. We can do this, and if I don’t do anything else, I will… I promise you we will resolve this violence problem and while we’re doing that I will be forever a spokesman for organ donation because I believe in God and I believe it works.”