As Daniel Johnson walked across the stage he received a big hug from his father, Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
Father and son have been through so much together. Just a year ago Eddie was in a dire situation. Three decades ago he was diagnosed with acute kidney inflammation. In 2016, the situation became life threatening.
Eddie’s kidney function dropped to 10 percent capacity – he desperately needed a kidney transplant. After months of donor screening, it was revealed that Daniel was a match. He gladly made himself available for the transplant.
Now Daniel is following in his father’s footsteps and has graduated as a police officer. Superintendent Eddie Johnson and his son Daniel will work side by side in the Chicago district.
He Nearly Passed Out
Among the #ChicagoPolice officers who graduated today was 6th District @ChicagoCAPS06 PO Daniel Johnson, the son of Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Both father & son will hit the streets to patrol the Gresham neighborhood this Friday as part of the CPD Labor Day Deployment. pic.twitter.com/6u44ZMmmbr
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) August 28, 2018
Superintendent Eddie Johnson has been a key figure in trying to crack down Chicago’s huge crime spree.
But his role was under severe threat after he was forced to reveal at a news conference he nearly fainted.
“So when I was diagnosed, I was 25 years old and, at the time the doctor…thought that my kidneys would probably last three to four years. And it’s been 31 years,” Eddie said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But in 2016, his kidneys fell to 10 percent functioning capacity. He was running out of time.
After months of searching, it emerged that Eddie was a donor for his father. Last year the pair underwent major surgery – with Eddie giving his father one of his kidneys. In little more than six weeks, Eddie was able to return to work at the Chicago Police Department.
Daniel Was A Teacher
At the time of the transplant, Daniel was working as an elementary school teacher. But told his father he was in the process of applying to become a Chicago cop. Almost a year to the date of the surgery, Superintendent Eddie was sworn in as a member of the force.
At the graduation ceremony in Navy Pier on Tuesday, he publicly acknowledge his son – even though he promised his son he wouldn’t do it.
“Daniel was selfless enough to give me the gift of life by donating his kidney to me last year,” the superintendent said.
“I’m not just here as superintendent. I get to stand before you as a dad watching my son follow in my footsteps. I promised him that I wouldn’t do this,” Johnson told the audience as they applauded, according to the Chicago-Sun Times.
“I’m so incredibly proud of the young man you have become. Since you were a little boy to when you decided to become a schoolteacher and now, a police officer, you have embodied the meaning of service,” he said.
“You always were centered around helping and giving back to others. And that includes helping me.”