Mid-South family bonded by history of kidney donations

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 7:44 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - March is National Kidney Month, a time to spread awareness about kidney health and kidney disease and learn what you can do to support it.

One Mid-South family exemplifies a unique and inspirational story regarding organ and tissue donation.

“Full circle moment for me. Not only me and my mom having a kidney transplant, but my brother being a donor, and my dad being my living donor,” ARTavius Veasey said. “It’s like kidney transplant is all in my family.”

ARTavious was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of three; 17 years ago, he was blessed with a kidney transplant from his father.

“I can’t even describe the day; it was just full of excitement,” Veasey said. “It’s like now my life gets to start.”

ARTavius and his mom Tremetrius Barnes are both kidney recipients. Tremetrius received a kidney from a deceased donor 21 years ago. Watching her son’s battle was all too familiar.

“We went through the journey; it wasn’t so bad because I went through it,” Barnes said. “I was just trying to tell him that we can do this, we can go through it, and we don’t have to worry about what people say or whatever. That he will be okay.”

Their kidney story doesn’t end there. Barnes’ oldest son was 24 years old when he died in a car accident.

A gesture he did before his death helped save the lives of multiple people.

“I didn’t ask him to do it,” Barnes said. “He said mom, someone helped you and my brothers so I would want to be on the list for if anything happened to somebody else.”

As a donor family, living donor, and recipient, this family knows donation first-hand and has lived it from all sides.

“Donate, sign that paper, MidSouthTransplant.org. If you do that, look at us. We are a family and a donated family,” Barnes said. “Just do it.”

Veasey published a book to walk readers through his journey, titled Becoming A Living Testimony: My journey through kidney disease and how it blessed my life.

Veasey also serves as the Digital Communications Coordinator at Mid-South Transplant Foundation.

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