SNELLVILLE, Ga. - Friends and family gathered in Snellville Saturday afternoon to celebrate the second "kidneyversary" for a 4-year-old boy who garnered national attention over his family's fight for a life-saving transplant.
Now, two years after the transplant, A.J. Burgess says he's "feeling good.
"It's exciting. Every year we are going to do this. It's a tradition now," said Carmellia Burgess, A.J.'s mom.
A.J. had been born without kidneys and had been undergoing nightly dialysis when he received a life-saving kidney donation in 2017.
A.J.'s parents are especially grateful, given the lengths they went to save his life.
"He fought so hard to get here," Carmellia Burgess said. "Everybody saw his struggle but I knew his struggle, so every year I have to celebrate it."
In 2017 a deceased donor's kidney was used to save A.J.'s life when his father, Anthony Dickerson faced issues that originally delayed the child's surgery.
AJ was set to receive a kidney from his father, who was determined to be a perfect donor match, in early October of that year, but Emory Healthcare delayed the procedure after officers arrested Dickerson for a parole violation.
A.J.'s parents went public with their plight, arguing his situation grew direr with each passing day. On Nov. 22, 2017, their prayers were answered. A.J. underwent a successful kidney transplant.
"He been very strong, very strong, he came a long way," Dickerson said. "We're proud of him, very proud of him.
Two years later, A.J. is happy, healthy, and full of life.
A.J.'s family says they look forward to celebrating his kidneyversary for many years to come.