Over the years, 41 year-old John Williamson has seen his cousin, Andy Williamson, only a handful of times.
Their fathers are brothers and grew up in Scotland; John’s father moving to Canada and John eventually ended up in Grand Rapids. Andy, now lives in Ashburton, located in the United Kingdom.
“I had known of him, we grew up on opposite sides of the Atlantic so we didn’t know each other very well, but, in the past four years we connected on Facebook and keeping up with each other via Facebook.” John told FOX 17 News.
Andy suffers a genetic kidney disorder, shared with his mother; both of them have had kidney transplants, John said.
“What I was surprised to find was him checking in again at a dialysis clinic via Facebook.” John added.
Andy’s kidney had failed. As a father of two young girls, John empathized with Andy being the father of 2 year-old Doro, knowing the energy it takes.
“It just felt like the right thing to do and so I made the offer.” John said. That offer, was to donate Andy one of his kidneys.
John underwent some medical screenings in the United States to make sure he wasn’t wasting anyone’s time in the United Kingdom.
“Just this past week, I was in the UK for a week and they compressed what they would typically do in six months testing, into a three day period for me.” John stated. “Everything has been very positive so far; we are just waiting on the results of one last test before we get the green light.” He added.
When they get that green light, John will head back to the UK in the fall for about three weeks for surgery prep, the surgery and then recovery.
“Often people that are sick or ill, you are left a little bit helpless and this is one case where you are actually not helpless, you can actually do something and really improve their life.”
John feels very comfortable with the medical staff overseas and even has his own doctor.
After the donation, John will have to undergo yearly check-ups in the United States.