ROSWELL, Ga. - Georgia state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, and his son, Will, walked into Emory University Hospital arm-in-arm Wednesday morning for what would be life-changing surgery.
Albers learned just a couple of weeks ago that he was a match to donate a kidney to his oldest son.
"Probably, candidly, [they were] some of the best words I've ever heard in my entire life," said Sen. Albers. "It was very emotional. It was a hug-fest and some tears shed in our household that that was the answer and the outpouring of support since then has just been overwhelming."
It was last August that Albers said his son took a sudden turn for the worse. Will had lost a lot of weight and began vomiting blood.
"We rushed him to the doctor and then to the emergency room and then we were in the critical care unit for eight days and we almost lost him," Albers explained.
Doctors discovered both of Will's kidneys had failed him at just the age of 24.
The Albers family kept their struggle quiet for nearly a year as they worked to get Will on the National Kidney Transplant List and while Sen. Albers waited to learn whether one of his kidneys could work for his son.
Last week, Sen. Albers posted a prayer request on social media.
"I am asking for your prayers for me and my son Will. On Wednesday, July 21st we will have surgery," he wrote.
"I give all that credit to my son, Will. He said to me, you know, 'Dad, why don't we share this and have more people pray for us? And from our situation and experience other folks who might be feeling bad might go to the doctor or other people might realize they too can donate a kidney and save someone's life. Maybe that's part of our calling,'" Albers recalled. "I didn't when I sent that out really comprehend the reach it would have."
Sen. Albers' post on LinkedIn has more than 300,000 likes and reactions and more than 44,000 comments.
"There are support groups out there and that's one of the things we're gonna do. We're going to make it our life's mission to help people who are going through this time and last buy not least, everyone who is out there can potentially be a donor and save someone's life, whether it be a family, a friend or a perfect stranger. God gave us two kidneys and we only need one," said Sen. Albers.
To learn more about being a living donor, you can visit Kidney.org.
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