LIVINGSTON, N.J. (WWNY) - While most people were celebrating July 4th with family and friends, Charles Mitchell was in surgery at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. After waiting for 17 years, he was finally receiving a new kidney, the first step toward a life free of routine, lengthy dialysis treatments.
Mitchell calls it his “freedom kidney.”
“I felt strangely good this morning,” Mitchell told 7News reporter Abbey Buttacavoli. “It’s mostly because I haven’t felt good for 18 years. And I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel good, to have energy, to want to do stuff.”
Years ago, Mitchell lost both his kidneys to high blood pressure and his first kidney transplant eventually failed. The wait for another donor has lasted nearly two decades.
This transplant came from a deceased donor. Mitchell and his fiancee, Sumer Stevens, got the news that a kidney was available on July 3rd. They say they packed up, and drove to New Jersey right away.
Mitchell expects to spend the next month recovering at St. Barnabas. He and Sumer are spending money out-of-pocket to pay for hotel expenses. There’s a gofundme page for Mitchell. You can learn more here.