A Nashville mom is getting an early Christmas present from her son.
Erica Johnson was diagnosed with renal failure in 2010.
“I had just been really, really sick for months. I went to the emergency room. Doctors told me my kidneys were working at five percent,” Johnson recalled.
The now 43-year-old has been on dialysis ever since and has known she would eventually need a kidney transplant, but never dreamed it would come from her youngest son.
Johnson's three children decided to get tested and all turned out to be exact matches for their mom. Together they decided the youngest of the three, 19-year-old Noah Harrison, would be the best candidate to donate his kidney.
“No. That's the first thing I said. No, no, no. I can wait. I can wait on the list. I don't want to put you through that,” Johnson said.
Harrison wouldn't take no for an answer. He insisted and eventually his mother agreed.
“She has always helped me whenever I needed something without me even asking. She's always there for me even when she doesn't have it. She helps me, so this is my real chance to give her something back that she'll really appreciate,” Harrison told Nashville's News 2.
Harrison said it's his way of showing his mom how much she means to him.
The University of Tennessee pre-med student took his final exams and drove home to Nashville for the surgery.
The surgeries are being performed Wednesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
From the hospital, Johnson continued to ask her son if “he was sure” and told him “it wasn't too late to back out.”
“I don't know how many ways to say thank you or I'm grateful or I appreciate it other than I love you and because of this, just live the best life I can,” Johnson told Nashville's News 2.
Harrison told his mom if he gave her his kidney then she would have to start exercising to take care of it. Johnson plans to live up to her end of the bargain.
Harrison said he usually makes his mom homemade cards or crafts for Christmas but that this gift tops them all.
“He's done. He doesn't have to buy anything else. He has done his part,” said Johnson.
The surgery ends Johnson's seven-month wait on the national donor list.
Each procedure is expected to take a few hours and both mother and son will remain in the hospital at least through the end of the week.