WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - They are kickball rivals, friends and now bonded for life. Two D.C. men have an even closer friendship after one of them offered up and donated a kidney.
The transplant happened in mid-July at Medstar Georgetown Hospital and was part of a paired swap, which gave Paul Johnson a second chance at life.
Johnson and Ryan Maddock became friends while playing on separate teams in the Stonewall Kickball League, a league for LGBTQ people and their allies.
During a game, Maddock, who has worked in the medical field, noticed something was off with Johnson.
"I knew immediately that he had kidney disease. I just from one point just knew in my head. I had worked in the medical field for a while and I've seen not adults, but pediatrics go through the same thing," Maddock said.
Johnson has a rare autoimmune disease, which was attacking his kidneys.
Maddock convinced Johnson to sign up for the donor registry by offering one of his own kidneys. He wasn't a direct match, so the two did a pair swap, where Maddock's kidney was swapped with another donor who was a match for Johnson.
Maddock's offer became a lifeline for Johnson, who says without it he would have likely had to wait for five to eight more years.
"It is a second chance. It's more time added to life. I can't even put it into words. It was just amazing," Johnson said.
Doctors still monitor Johnson on a weekly basis, but he tells FOX 5 he is feeling good and doing well with the new kidney.