A Georgia toddler received a successful kidney transplant on Wednesday, about one month after a hospital postponed his original operation when his father -- a perfect donor match -- violated his probation.
A.J. Burgess, 2, received the transplant from a deceased donor Wednesday morning at a hospital in Atlanta, according to his family’s attorney, who called the surgery a "Thanksgiving miracle."
"This is for them an unexpected Thanksgiving miracle, it's just a blessing," attorney Muwali Davis said in a statement. "They were just moving along, preparing for him to continue to go to dialysis, and then this happened, so it's just been an overwhelming experience for mom, dad, all of the family, who have watched that child who no one expected to live this long, and now for him to have a chance at a healthy life, for them it's unbelievable.
“All they can say is just thank [you to] the family of the deceased person, thank God, and encourage people to sign up to be donors,” he added.
Born without kidneys, A.J. had been undergoing nightly dialysis in order to survive. He was set to receive a kidney last month from his father, Anthony Dickerson, who was tested and proved to be a perfect match, but that transplant was postponed due to issues related to his father’s criminal record.
Dickerson, 26, was arrested in December 2016 for violating his probation on weapons charges, according to criminal records. He had promised to give A.J. a kidney once he got out of jail, according to the boy's mother, Carmellia Burgess.
“A.J. is out of surgery [and] is transplanted. His surgery was successful. He’s headed to recovery,” Burgess wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Thank you everyone for your continued prayers [and] most of all thank you Lord.
“I never thought my baby would [be] seeing this day,” she wrote in separate post Wednesday.
She said her family received an outpouring of support when A.J.'s story made national headlines last month. On Tuesday, Burgess shared that actor Tyler Perry had gifted her and her family with a new car.
"OMGG I'm so overjoyed. I was in tears," she wrote in a Facebook post. "Thank you Tyler Perry (Madea) for blessing/buying my kids [and] I a new car. We are forever grateful."
The family said it could not offer any details about the child’s donor, but said they were deceased.
"We don't have any information about the donors. Our understanding is that we would not be able to receive any [information] for a year from the time of the donation,” Davis said.
A.J. is currently in recovery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, according to Davis.