Bobby Johnson with wife, Cindy.

1 Kidney can save the life of my brother-in-law, Bobby Ray Johnson, husband of my younger sister, Cindy Dunnavant Johnson.  Will you save a life?  Will you be a living kidney donor?

Bobby's Kidney - 1 Kidney Can Save A Life!

Will you Save a Life?  Will you Be a Living Kidney Donor?

Story written by News Channel 5 reporter:

Billboard Aims To Generate Kidney Donation For Lebanon Man

Posted: Jan 10, 2014 9:17 PM CST

Updated: Jan 10, 2014 10:23 PM CST

by Emily Luxen           

LEBANON, Tenn. -  A woman in Lebanon has taken drastic measures to save her husband's life.

A new billboard on the side of I-40 West heading into Nashville features Cindy Johnson's photo, phone number and a plea for someone to donate a kidney to her husband.

Cindy said it has been heartbreaking watching her husband of nearly 32 years go through dialysis three times a week.  Bobby Johnson is battling chronic kidney disease and is living with end stage renal failure.  After determining no one in their family was able to donate a kidney, Cindy and her sister Nancy Check, decided to take action.

"She called one day and said, ‘how about a billboard?'" said Cindy Johnson.  "Bobby was against it at first, but now he's ecstatic.  I think it is giving him a sense of hope."

After only two days, the billboard has already generated a few phone calls and multiple hits on the advertised website.

"People don't go around thinking, ‘I'll give a kidney,'" said Nancy Check, Cindy's sister.  "When they see something like this billboard I know it makes people think."

Cindy said a kidney transplant is the only option to help improve and extend Bobby's life.  She said his condition has left him tired and frustrated.

"There was one time we came home and he was so tired and exhausted he couldn't get out of the truck to come in the house," said Cindy.  "It breaks my heart.  It is hard to watch."

Cindy and Nancy hope the billboard will encourage people to donate a kidney to Bobby or the thousands of other people currently on transplant waiting lists.

"We all love him and he's a good person," said Cindy.  "It's hard to imagine him not being here."

For more information on how to donate a kidney to Bobby, you can call (615) 559-8450 or visit

Email: [email protected]



See:" for the story that aired on News Channel 5.




Why Are the Kidneys So Important?


Most people know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.  These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine.  The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and re-absorption.  This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.


The critical regulation of the body's salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys.  The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs.  For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production.  Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.


The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:

  • remove waste products from the body
  • remove drugs from the body
  • balance the body's fluids
  • release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • control the production of red blood cells.


Where Are the Kidneys and How Do They Function?


There are two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage.  Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons.  A nephron consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule.  When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered and the remaining fluid then passes along the tubule.  In the tubule, chemicals and water are either added to or removed from this filtered fluid according to the body's needs, the final product being the urine we excrete.


The kidneys perform their life-sustaining job of filtering and returning to the bloodstream about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours.  About two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and about 198 quarts are recovered.  The urine we excrete has been stored in the bladder for anywhere from 1 to 8 hours.


What Are Some of the Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease?


Chronic kidney disease is defined as having some type of kidney abnormality, or "marker", such as protein in the urine and having decreased kidney function for three months or longer.


There are many causes of chronic kidney disease. The kidneys may be affected by diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Some kidney conditions are inherited (run in families).  Others are congenital; that is, individuals may be born with an abnormality that can affect their kidneys. 


The following are some of the most common types and causes of kidney damage:

  • Diabetes is a disease in which your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly.  This results in a high blood sugar level, which can cause problems in many parts of your body. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.
  • High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is another common cause of kidney disease and other complications such as heart attacks and strokes.  High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against your artery walls increases.  When high blood pressure is controlled, the risk of complications such as chronic kidney disease is decreased.
  • Glomerulonephritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the kidney's tiny filtering units called the glomeruli.  Glomerulonephritis may happen suddenly, for example, after a strep throat, and the individual may get well again.  However, the disease may develop slowly over several years and it may cause progressive loss of kidney function. 
  • Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disease.  It is characterized by the formation of kidney cysts that enlarge over time and may cause serious kidney damage and even kidney failure.  Other inherited diseases that affect the kidneys include Alport's Syndrome,primary hyperoxaluria and cystinuria.
  • Kidney stones are very common, and when they pass, they may cause severe pain in your back and side.  There are many possible causes of kidney stones, including an inherited disorder that causes too much calcium to be absorbed from foods and urinary tract infections or obstructions.  Sometimes, medications and diet can help to prevent recurrent stone formation. In cases where stones are too large to pass, treatments may be done to remove the stones or break them down into small pieces that can pass out of the body.
  • Urinary tract infections occur when germs enter the urinary tract and cause symptoms such as pain and/or burning during urination and more frequent need to urinate.  These infections most often affect the bladder, but they sometimes spread to the kidneys, and they may cause fever and pain in your back.
  • Congenital diseases may also affect the kidneys. These usually involve some problem that occurs in the urinary tract when a baby is developing in its mother's womb.  One of the most common occurs when a valve-like mechanism between the bladder and ureter (urine tube) fails to work properly and allows urine to back up (reflux) to the kidneys, causing infections and possible kidney damage.
  • Drugs and toxins can also cause kidney problems.  Using large numbers of over-the-counter pain relievers for a long time may be harmful to the kidneys.  Certain other medications, toxins, pesticides and "street" drugs such as heroin and crack can also cause kidney damage.