By David Wade


EAST BRIDGEWATER (CBS) – A local teenager with a recent kidney transplant needs that kidney to “wake up” and start working. So family and friends are sending it a message. That message is: “Wake up, Joe!” And Friday we found out exactly what that means.

“Joe’s here, but he doesn’t want to talk right now,” said Justin MacDougall pointing to his side. The 17-year-old is talking about his new kidney, which he named “Joe.” “Well, it was the first name that popped into my head,” he explained.

The East Bridgewater teen received that transplant last month, but the kidney didn’t start working right away. “It’s called a sleeping kidney. It’s when the kidney doesn’t wake up right away,” Justin said.

He said doctors told him it could take weeks before his sleeping kidney woke up and started doing its job. “It’s slow and very frustrating,” Jason said.

Justin MacDougall (WBZ-TV)

His aunt Ruth had an idea to keep Justin’s spirits up, and posted it on social media. “I wanted to know if everyone would like to make a video, and just say, ‘wake up Joe,'” Ruth Boncorddo said on Facebook. And that’s just what happened. Friends, family and even strangers started posting videos urging Joe to wake up.

“I think that helped him to show that everybody is behind and supporting him and they want him to get well. That’s just so nice,” said Linda MacDougall, Justin’s mother.

In the meantime Justin goes through dialysis three times a week, three hours each time. But that will change when Joe “wakes up.”

“No more dialysis so that’s a lot of free time. I can go back to school more regularly, have a normal life,” Justin said.

And there are some signs that Joe is getting the message. “I’m feeling a bit better, a bit more energy,” said Justin.

“I know it sounds funny, but I think it helped a lot. I think it really did,” Linda added.

Justin’s doctors say there’s no sign his body is rejecting the kidney. So: “Wake up, Joe!”

On Facebook: A Kidney For Justin

David Wade

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