Methodist Le Bonheur helps father provide kidney to son


Special to the Advocate
MEMPHIS — A Jonesboro teen now gets to live like a teenager thanks to a new kidney he received from his father.

Earlier this fall, Thomas Roush checked into Methodist University Hospital and his 14-year-old son Justin checked into Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center. A transplant team at Methodist removed one healthy kidney from Thomas and another team at Le Bonheur transplanted that kidney into Justin.

“I am now able to have a healthy son,” says an emotional father, Thomas Roush.

Currently, more than 77,000 Americans are listed with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network who need a kidney and that list continues to grow daily. Doctors say there just are not enough deceased donor kidneys to go around to every person who needs one.

“There is an enormous need for living donors,” said Dr. James Eason, medical director for the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute. “In addition to providing more people with the life-saving organ they need, living donors often provide a better genetic match which lessens the risk of rejection for the recipient.” 

Justin needed a new kidney because he has a rare disorder called Klippel-Feil syndrome which caused him to have one small kidney that began to fail. With the gift of life he received from his father, Justin can get back to living the life of a normal teenager. “I don’t have to follow such a strict diet,” said Justin. “I can eat a lot more fun types of food.”

Regaining his life also means he can get back to juggling, literally, which he does quite well. He also juggles a lot of activities including going back to school where he sings in the choir and acts in school plays and also acts in community productions.

Mom, Diana, says she is happy her son can live a normal life. “When you are running to so many appointments, it’s like your life is on hold. I’m just thrilled to see my son so much happier, and I am very thankful to everyone at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute and Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center for giving my son his life back.”