Middle Tennessean Gives Mom a KIDNEY for her Birthday

Nov 18, 2020 at 11:22 am by WGNS

Longtime Antioch resident Geraldean Smith celebrated her 66th birthday on September 30th. Her most memorable present? A kidney donated by her son, 42-year-old Howard Smith Jr. 

Taking a break from his successful career in IT recruiting in Pittsburgh, Howard returned to Middle Tennessee this May to help his mom Geraldean and dad Howard Sr. as they faced serious health concerns. Geraldean has been on dialysis for just over 3 years. Though Howard is not a match for his mother, he donated his kidney to an unknown recipient last month in order to secure a future kidney for his mother through an initiative the National Kidney Registry calls its "Voucher Program" or "Advanced Donation." 

"I think I was more nervous than him," jokes Geraldean as she recalls the evening of September 29, when Howard checked into Ascension Saint Thomas West for surgery. Just before going into the operating room at 5 AM on September 30, Howard dialed his mom to sing her a groggy rendition of "Happy Birthday." Geraldean remembers praying, "Lord, You gave me my son and I know You will bless and protect him through surgery." 

Howard's surgery was a success, making him the first National Kidney Registry Living Donor at Ascension Saint Thomas West. Laurie Oliver, Director of the Ascension Saint Thomas Heart and Kidney Transplant Programs, says, "Howard's act of faith shows how much he cares for his mom. In this pandemic era, what an amazing and inspiring story."

"I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present," says Geraldean. As she waits for her kidney, she will continue having fun phone dates with her two grandchildren; playing Scrabble and other favorite games with Howard Sr., her husband of 43 years; and enjoying having Howard Jr. back at home.

Geraldean remains hopeful as she awaits a kidney match. Donor applications can be submitted at stw.donorscreen.org and additional information can be gathered by calling 615-222-6618. 
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