SNEED: Supt. Johnson to return from kidney transplant with a new wife

SHARE SNEED: Supt. Johnson to return from kidney transplant with a new wife

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson fainted during a law enforcement event Friday afternoon in Springfield. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson may be getting a kidney.

But he’s also getting a wife.

• Translation: By the time Johnson heads back to work following surgery for a chronic kidney disorder for the past 30 years, he tells Sneed, he will have made 9th District Lt. Nakia Fenner his bride.


“My doctor told me I should bottle my positive mental attitude,” chuckled an almost euphoric Johnson, who said he plans to take his Bible bookmarked to the Book of Job with him when he heads to surgery at Rush University Medical Center August 30.

“I keep that Bible on my desk at work, and what Job teaches is never to lose my faith in God,” he said.

“It’s the story of patience and faith and calamity.

“And what people need to know is that despite [the city’s murder rate], at the end of this the Chicago Police Department will become a model agency for all the country, and Chicago the safest city in the country.

“We can do this!” he said. “They don’t call us the ‘City of Big Shoulders’ for nothing,” Johnson added — citing renewed support the CPD is getting from the community. “This may be my proudest accomplishment thus far.

“It is an awesome responsibility to be a protector of people. But it is such a simple thing. And the look on people’s faces when that happens is priceless,” said Johnson, referring to “so many people coming up to us at the Bud Billiken Parade and asking us to pose with their children.

“It’s the kind of thing that makes going into surgery put a smile on my face and serves as a good springboard for when I get back. It encourages you to do the thing that you are doing.

Johnson’s son, Daniel, 25, who affectionately calls his dad “Dude,” chose to be the donor, although many policemen had volunteered.

“I was a little concerned,” Daniel told Sneed. “I didn’t know how to feel at first. I was more anxious than nervous for it to happen. But I’m now in way better shape getting ready for the surgery. I’ve done a lot more cardio exercise than I expected, and I’ve grown a lot closer to my father and family since we found out he needed the surgery now.

“I’ve learned faith and patience and what love and sacrifice means,” he added. “But doing this is no big deal. I’d do it for my parents. But it has strengthened my relationship with God.”

Then Daniel added: “But guess what, I’m taking my own Bible with me on the day of the surgery!”

Supt. Johnson says his dream had been to study pre-med, “but life happens and things change. When I reflect on how blessed I’ve been I don’t take it lightly. I would have rather remained private, but I want to use this opportunity God gave me to get out the word on organ donations. African-Americans suffer the most in this category.

“So many healthy organs we bury every day — which, unfortunately, is coupled with the myth in the black community if doctors find out you are an organ donor, they’ll let you die in order to harvest your organs! So many parents are not well versed on the reality of organ donations and could give permission at the hospital for organ harvesting.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how I was diagnosed 31 years ago and I was going to need an organ donation in five years, and I’ve been able to wait until now.

“Now that I have this platform, I’m going to use it.”

Johnson is expected to be out of the hospital two to three days after surgery and back to work within three to six weeks.

Meanwhile, father and son have a plan.

Having lost 50 pounds between them since planning for the surgery, when it’s over Daniel plans to head to Portillo’s for a double cheeseburger and an Italian beef, and his dad will head to Harold’s Chicken Shack for “four white with mild sauce.”


Sneedlings . . .

Batter up, babes! Watch for former Chicago Ald. Ginger Rugai to join forces Saturday with 1,000 Chicago area femmes to battle breast cancer. Their field of choice: the baseball diamond. Rugai, a breast cancer survivor, has organized the Y-Me Softball Tournament for 23 years and watched it grow from a small group of neighborhood gals to one of the nation’s largest all-women charitable softball tournaments. All proceeds go to breast cancer research funding the University of Chicago Medical Center. . . . I spy: Hamilton star Chris Lee spotted dining at Katana last week. . . . Today’s birthdays: Blake Lively, 30; Sean Connery, 87; Regis Philbin, 86; and Bill Figel, 63; ageless and priceless.

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