Veronica Hilbring
Oct, 17, 2017

A 2-year-old in Atlanta, desperately in need of a kidney, may die waiting for a transplant — although his father is a perfect match.

AJ Burgess was born prematurely without a functioning kidney. He spent the first 10 months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta. Burgess’ father, Anthony Dickerson, was tested and found to be a perfect match to give his son a kidney. Unfortunately, Dickerson was in prison for violating his probation on weapons charges.

Dickerson was soon released and set to donate his kidney to his son on Oct. 3. However, he was soon jailed again for violating parole for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit a crime. He was released again, but by then everything changed.

AJ’s mother, Carmella Burgess, received a letter saying the surgery would be delayed until Dickerson could provide evidence of compliance to the terms of his probation for the next three months. Burgess said “The lady said we need your parole information and your probation info. He said, 'why?' We need you to be on good behavior for three to four months before you can give your son the kidney. And January 2018 we will think about re-evaluating you basically.”

Emory Healthcare issued a statement regarding the situation: “Emory Healthcare is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors. Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about patients.”

Dickerson said he wanted nothing more than to give his son the gift of life.

“That's all I ever wanted was a son. And I finally got him, and he's in this situation,” he said. If Dickerson remains on the right track, he’ll be able to donate his kidney to AJ in January. But Carmella believes it may be too late. She told local CBS affiliate that AJ’s body is starting to fail and he requires bladder surgery.

She has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for household expenses.