Duval County

Jacksonville man receives new kidney from his uncle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Houston Foster and Charles Jackson have a lot to celebrate.

“My life was taken,” Jackson said. “They were saying that I killed someone. I took a life. Not only did I not take a life, I saved a life.”

Action News Jax first told you about Charles Jackson and his nephew, Foster, in October 2019. Jackson was convicted of murder in Ohio. He was cleared after 27 years in prison. His nephew, Foster, needed a kidney, and Jackson stepped up to the plate to give him one, after he was released from prison.

“They are just so fantastic,” Dr. Dana Perry, a transplant surgeon with the Mayo Clinic, said. “What an exceptional human being to be in jail all those years and come out with such a huge heart and do such an amazing thing.“

Dr. Perry and Dr. Shannon Mao performed the transplant surgeries last Friday. Both men are doing well. Foster is still in a lot of pain. He said half of his surgery was covered by donations after our story first aired.

“We got some more money in,” Foster said. “Took care of things. It helped a whole lot.”

As of 7 a.m. Feb. 14, there are almost 95,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a kidney. The number changes daily. At the Mayo Clinic, surgeons perform about 60 transplants each year. They said they have more patients than donors.

“Donors are really our heroes that allow us to transplant patients and transform their lives,” Mao said.

Mao and Perry encourage people to become what is called a living donor, like Jackson. They said there is no financial obligation on behalf of the donor.

As for Foster and Jackson, they’re just happy to have each other.

“It’s like the best dessert, like a cherry on top,“ Jackson said.

If you want to learn more about becoming a donor, you can click this link.