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Donor Story

TJ's Living Donor Story

Tertius “TJ” Johnson, 36 | Harrisburg, PA / Recipient

My wife, Iris, and I were thinking about going to Las Vegas to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. I said what are the odds that the transplant team would call me? But she had a feeling, and we went to Philadelphia instead. Sure enough, we got the call, and I was in surgery on our anniversary.

I didn’t always feel that lucky. After having nephritis at age 16, I was on dialysis for several years. I was sick all of the time. My first kidney, which I received in 2001, changed my life, but it failed seven years later. 

I was back on dialysis and had many health problems for years. My mom, Pastor Karen Johnson, stuck by me when it seemed everyone was giving up on me. I was so sick that I couldn’t be on the transplant list. That’s when Dr. Iyer helped me get back to good health.

I am so thankful for this gift of a kidney. It has helped my entire family in such a great way. Of my four children, my illness was hardest on the youngest. I missed out on a lot, but now I have the energy and time to do things that I couldn’t before. 

Iris and my whole family have been such a support, and I thank Dr. Iyer, Dr. Narins, Dr. Yang and the whole PinnacleHealth team. They saved my life and continue helping me be successful. What I’ve been through is incredible. When I was 16, my life expectancy was 26. Well here I am 10 years past that and my health is great, and I feel fantastic.


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