Baby A.J., toddler whose transplant was delayed due to father's criminal history, gets new kidney

ATLANTA -- After an uncertain several weeks, Baby A.J.'s family is giving thanks for his life.

A.J. Burgess, 2, was born without kidneys. He needed a potentially life-saving transplant. The Georgia toddler's case gained national attention when his dad, who was a perfect match to donate, was unable to do so because he had violated his probation.

But thanks to an unknown donor, Baby A.J. was able to get a transplant after all.

"I just appreciate everything. I'm real excited," father Anthony Dickerson told WGCL. "I don't know how to explain it no more than that, but I'm happy."

Dickerson, who had been in trouble with the law before, was arrested in September for violating his probation. Initially the family thought they'd still be able to do the surgery on Oct. 3, but the boy's mother, Carmellia Burgess, received a letter from Emory University Hospital saying that Dickerson would need to follow the conditions of his parole for three months and that his status as a donor would be reevaluated in January after they received proper documentation.

Emory Healthcare later apologized "for a breakdown in communication on our part."

A.J. was able to get his kidney before his father could donate because the boy was also on the list to receive an organ from a dead donor.

The family's attorney, Mawuli Davis, said that Wednesday's operation was successful and that they are "excited about giving thanks for his new kidney."

To top off the excitement, Tyler Perry donated a car to the family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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