Andrew Johnson and his family spread organ donor awareness at the Boston Kidney Walk
Four-year-old Andrew Johnson is an energetic kid who loves preschool, swimming and ice skating.
No one would believe that at one point, medical professionals didn’t think Andrew was going to have a chance at a normal life. Only 19 weeks into her pregnancy, Tara Johnson and her husband, Kevin, learned that their baby had a serious blockage in his urethra. When he was born, it was discovered that the blockage had caused severe kidney damage. Within a year, baby Andrew was placed on dialysis while Tara and Kevin struggled to get him to a proper weight so he could be eligible for a life-saving kidney transplant.
Then in March 2011, Tara gave Andrew life for the second time, when she donated one of her kidneys.
“The donation part was easy,” she said. “Who wouldn’t do that for her child? There was so much preparation to get him ready, so for us it was incredible finally getting to that day.”
And today, he’s no different than any of his peers.
“It’s funny what a new kidney will do to you,” said Tara.
And yet, the Johnsons are already planning for Andrew’s next challenge – the likelihood that he will need another kidney in his teenage years. Kevin is a blood type match and will likely be the next donor in line.
“Although kidney transplants are lasting longer and longer, they still don’t last forever,” said Kevin. “And yet who knows what advances in medical technology will mean for Andrew?”
The Johnson family is now using their story to spread awareness about kidney disease and the need for organ donors and kidney research. The family participated in the Boston Kidney Walk in October.
“Andrew has been able to live beautifully for the past four years because of research and advances that have been supported and advocated for by the National Kidney Foundation,” Tara said. “We’re walking to bring people together, and to celebrate the positive outcomes for everyone like Andrew.”