After weeks of waiting, a kidney transplant to save the life of a 2-year-old child is finally an opportunity.

According to the A.J. Burgess Carmellia's mother, Emory Healthcare called around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night to say they have a deceased donor who is a perfect match for him. The family was on the way to the hospital immediately for a final blood test. The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.

11Alive Natisha Lance spoke with AJ's father, Anthony Dickerson, at the hospital, who said "Words can not describe" how they feel at this moment.


The 2-year-old boy, known as "Baby AJ", was born without kidneys. The father of A.J. Anthony Dickerson was a perfect match to be a donor, and was scheduled to donate his left kidney, but was prevented from doing so after he was arrested for violating his probation. Since then, the family has been struggling to obtain A.J. the transplant that saved lives.

"I'm going to do whatever it takes to get my son to have a kidney," Dickerson said. "I thank the community for supporting us."

ORIGINAL HISTORY | 2-year-old denied his father's kidney transplant for parole violation

Emory Healthcare had been the focus of numerous prayer vigils and demonstrations for his refusal to kidney donation. Faced with growing pressure and criticism, Dr. Jonathan Lewin, CEO of Emory Healthcare, apologized for what he called "a collapse in communication" with the child's parents.

The statement was issued after Lewin met with Dickerson and Carmellia Burgess, along with their attorneys and other community members. He also followed the hospitalization of A.J. for an infection and pneumonia.

"It is our desire to continue working with the parents of A.J. to work on this process," said Lewins. "We want a successful transplant for A.J. and we also want a positive result for his father or any other possible living donor."

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After 11Alive initially reported on the history of AJ, organ donation offers came from all over the country, including Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.

"I did not do it" I think a stranger would say, "Oh, let me give you a kidney." That is a great decision to give an organ, "said Carmellia.

Now, AJ finally receives the transplant from an unknown donor, opening the door for him to have a second chance in life.

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