CHICAGO — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is poised to receive a new kidney — from his son.
Johnson, who disclosed in January after suffering a public dizzy spell that he’s on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, said Wednesday that 25-year-old Daniel Johnson will be the donor of the kidney.
The superintendent, who met with reporters to announce that his officers have seized nearly 6,000 illegal guns so far this year, expressed pride in his son when asked about the transplant and his son’s decision to donate one of his kidneys to his father.
“It’s not something that I asked him to do, he chose to do this for me,” said Johnson, who has battled a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the kidneys called glomerulonephritis for decades. “It’s a wonderful thing when you can actually see your son grow into the man that you can be proud of.”
Johnson, clearly pleased about his son’s generous act, said the two have “always had a good bond and, quite naturally, it’s really gotten deeper.”
“He’s a lot like me. He just looks at it like, I’m getting a tuneup. Let’s get this done and move on,” the superintendent said.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Johnson will have the surgery within the next two weeks at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro will run the department in Johnson’s absence.
Guglielmi has said that after the operation, Johnson is expected to be back at police headquarters in three to five weeks, but said Wednesday that long before he returns to the office Johnson will be working from home and will be in regular contact with his staff.
At the news conference, Johnson downplayed any worries about his operation and the surgery to remove the kidney from his son, saying that he has faith in God and trusts the surgeons.
“It doesn’t concern him and it doesn’t concern me, really,” he said.
Johnson has another reason to be proud. Daniel Johnson recently told his father that he has taken the tests to become a Chicago police officer, Guglielmi said.
Johnson has been police superintendent since March of last year, when he replaced former Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired following the release of dashcam footage showing a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager 16 times. Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose Johnson for the job after rejecting three finalists recommended by the city’s police board.