Dying Toddler Gets a 'Thanksgiving Miracle'

AJ Burgess underwent lifesaving kidney transplant Wednesday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2017 11:30 AM CST
Updated Nov 23, 2017 2:30 PM CST
Dying Toddler Gets a 'Thanksgiving Miracle'
Carmellia Burgess, left, and Anthony Dickerson wear shirts decorated with a photo of their 2-year-old son, AJ, in Atlanta on Nov. 3, 2017.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

"This is an unexpected Thanksgiving miracle." That's the message from a lawyer representing a 2-year-old Georgia boy, who was temporarily blocked from receiving a lifesaving kidney, after the toddler underwent a successful transplant Wednesday, reports CNN. AJ Burgess was born without functioning kidneys. However, his father, Anthony Dickerson, was a perfect match and offered to provide one of his own. A transplant was initially scheduled, but it was canceled last month when Dickerson was arrested for a parole violation and weapons possession. Emory University Hospital in Atlanta then said Dickerson had to comply with his parole for three months, showing he could adhere to the aftercare requirements in compliance with "stringent" national guidelines for living donors, before the transplant could take place.

Family members feared AJ wouldn't survive the three months, but their anxious waiting ended Tuesday when the hospital called to report that a kidney was available from a deceased donor, per the AP. A successful surgery was performed at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on Wednesday, says family attorney Mawuli Davis. "To watch this child that no one expected to live, and now for him to have a chance at a healthy life, it's unbelievable," he says. "His parents and family are overwhelmed with gratitude." In a Wednesday Facebook post, AJ's mom said the kidney was already producing urine. AJ is expected to return home in a week. In the meantime, Davis says the family will "celebrate Thanksgiving in the hospital with him and his new kidney." They'll get there in a new car—a gift from Tyler Perry, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (More kidney transplant stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.