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Albany teacher receives life-changing transplant

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Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:26 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -One Albany teacher is living proof that donating organs changes lives for the better.

Alonzo Williams is a teacher at Merry Acres Middle School. He tells me he started experiencing kidney issues back in 2015, which is also when he went on dialysis.

Alonzo Williams walking through hospital hallways at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
Alonzo Williams walking through hospital hallways at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.(WALB)

He was later evaluated for a kidney at Emory in Atlanta, where he waited to hear news of his status. Last December, his health took a turn for the worst. He tells me doctors found cancerous spots in his kidney and told him they had to be removed. He was without kidney function when doctors told him that he would not be able to get on the list until June, once they made sure the cancerous spots were gone.

One Dougherty County teacher by the name of Alonzo Williams, has experienced kidney problems since 2015, which is also...

Posted by Gabrielle Taite WALB on Monday, April 4, 2022

“On Tuesday, March 23, I was at work at Merry Acres and I got a call saying that, ‘Mr. Williams said ‘How soon can you get here to the Mayo Clinic? We have a kidney for you,’” Williams said. “Of course, that was a shock because you know they said it wouldn’t be until June that I could even get listed again. So we came down here on that Wednesday morning, got here about 2 o’clock, by 4 o’clock, I was in surgery.”

Williams says that while he is grateful for the transplant, it has taken an emotional toll on his mental health.

Alonzo Williams with longtime WALB anchor, Karla Heath-Sands.
Alonzo Williams with longtime WALB anchor, Karla Heath-Sands.(WALB)

“You know, nothing was happening. I couldn’t find a donor. I was getting comfortable with doing home dialysis. But then, I had friends and family who were pushing a praying and they said ‘Oh no, see? You’re going to get a kidney,’” Williams said.

Even though he’s been off work, Williams says he feels the support from his job, which keeps him going.

“My job has been very, very supportive. The principal of Merry Acres has checked up on me regularly, and the church that I play Unity, their pastor has checked on me regularly,” he said.

Williams finally received his transplant on March 23 and is now at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He says his kidney is functioning now and adds that he would strongly encourage people to consider becoming donors.

To donate, you can contact Williams at (229) 886-1644.

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