CPD Supt. Johnson ‘humbled’ by support after disclosing he needs kidney transplant

CHICAGO -- Chicago's top cop says he's humbled by the flood of well wishes and offers of help after he became faint during a press conference Friday and later disclosed he suffers from kidney disease and needs a kidney transplant.

"I promise you all: I will not take blood pressure medication without eating from this point forward.  I learned my lesson," Johnson joked Saturday.

But there was another lesson: about the goodness and generosity in Chicago.

Shortly after he disclosed he has a long-standing kidney condition, offers of help -- from the public and the police -- poured in.

"We actually had people dialing 911 asking officers to come over to their homes so they could give them their information, so i got to tell you guys that`s a humbling, humbling feeling," Johnson said.

Johnson says doctors at Rush University Medical Center will be doing evaluations on people considering donations.
In the meantime, he says he'll continue working.

"What I would say to people, it`s not just about me.  There are a lot of people out there in need of organ donations for whatever reason.  Yes, people have offered to donate to me, so we`ll see how that goes," Johnson said.

Renowned transplant surgeon Dr. Adam Bodzin of the University of Chicago says even with the stress of being the city's top cop, Johnson should be able to function as normal, until a transplant is scheduled.

"He could preform his duties and the stress shouldn't change much about his disease process nor progression," said Dr. Bodzin said.

Johnson says in some ways, he views the health episode as an opportunity.

"My godmother always says, God works in mysterious ways, you know?" Johnson said.

In the meantime, he's focused on implementing his plan to reduce violent crime, and restore community trust in the police department - community he says he's grateful to be a part of.

"Just wanted to say thank you for all the well wishes yesterday," Johnson said.

Johnson is one of more than 4,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list in Illinois.