Two women in McAlester are about to celebrate a Christmas they will never forget. They are recovering from surgery after a wife and mother of four, donated her kidney to save her mother-in-law’s life.
There are five Christmas trees, a holiday village and stockings up at the Johnson house and all the decorations have not gone up yet.
"Christmas as you can tell, is a big deal in our house," said Jerrod Johnson.
It is a big deal because Jerrod's mom always made Christmas a big deal. Now he is trying to pass that same magic down to his family. This year the magic isn't hard to generate, it isn't in the gleam of Christmas lights or the ornaments hanging on the tree. The magic is sitting right next to him.
"I don't understand how people don't understand it. You are given not only the opportunity to not just save a family member but to just save a life in general," said Jerrod’s wife Rosa Johnson.
Rosa just donated her kidney to save her mother-in-law's life.
"I just love her so much and that just shows you how much she loves me," said Jerrod’s mom Wanda Johnson.
Wanda has diabetes. Her health has been declining, eventually her kidneys started shutting down and she went on dialysis.
"I didn't want to ask people for a kidney, God told me he was going to give me one," said Wanda.
Rosa was the perfect match. The risks involved in the surgery, the sacrifice she was making, none of it mattered as much as making sure she could give this gift to her mother-in-law.
"I lost my dad in 2019 to diabetes," said Rosa, "I would do it for my own dad and so I am doing it for his mom. It is family.”
The surgery was December 8 and Rosa is already back at work. Wanda is getting released from the hospital today and will be home just in time for Christmas.
"They call her daughter-in-law, but I have heard a lot of people say daughter-in-love and that is how I feel," said Wanda.
Rosa and her mother-in-law Wanda both said they will continue having checkups to make sure their bodies are coping well with the surgeries but said they are both feeling great today.
Wanda wanted me to include a special message, thanking the staff at St. John in Tulsa who she said took such great care of her and her family.