Woman launches campaign to find her kidney donor

Updated: May. 3, 2019 at 8:40 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Montgomery woman has launched her own campaign in order to find a donor and a second chance at life.

Eleven years is how long Verna Johnson says her sister went through dialysis waiting for a kidney.

“She passed away in 2015. She was on the wait list, but never got her life saved, her gift," said Johnson.

Now she is walking the same road yet again after being diagnosed with kidney disease in 2017.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks. It hurt me that my family has to go through this again," said Johnson. “I am in end stage renal disease. My kidneys have pretty much shut down. I have a little bit of function, but not much at 6 percent. In order for me to survive I need a donor."

In a proactive effort to find a kidney donor Johnson created the ‘Verna Needs a Kidney’ Facebook page.

“I know there is a miracle out there waiting for me that will give me my life back, my second chance. I would be able to do the things I used to do. I want to get back into my career of being a professional counselor," said Johnson. “It makes me sad to not be able to help people because I am in need."

To be a living kidney donor for Verna you can call UAB Medical Center (888) 822-7892 and mention “Verna Johnson” by name or you can complete an online donor application form.

Being the miracle is something Birmingham resident Jeff Hartley knows all about. This is because earlier this year he became a living donor for a stranger facing kidney disease.

“He is doing extremely well. His quality of life is amazing compared to where it was. I am doing well. I was able to return to work in just two weeks," said Hartley. “I was not aware of kidney disease or kidney failure before my experience. I was not aware of what these people were going through or what day to day life is like if you are on dialysis."

Johnson’s now refers to Hartley as one of her angels. He is advocating on her behalf, becoming one of the team members for the ‘Verna needs a Kidney’ Facebook page.

“Sometimes God expects us to step up and be the miracle. That is what we are asking you to consider. Look in your heart and ask if you have a place in this,” said Hartley.

Alabama ranks fifth in the nation for kidney disease. Over 2,000 people right here in our state are on the wait list for a kidney transplant. This is according to the Alabama Kidney Foundation.

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