Fayette County

McIntosh High School athletic director needing kidney transplant finds perfect match on social media

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. — Leon Hammond is the type of guy who is not a fan of surprises, but he’s willing to make an exception.

“I’m just like, ‘No. If this is what I think it is, I’m going to break down’,” Hammond said.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen first introduced you to Hammond in September.

The McIntosh High School athletic director was struggling through stage four kidney disease and was in desperate need of a donor, but he was keeping his condition to himself.

But then he met Willie Blackwell, a former football player who had gone through a very similar situation.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Blackwell is a former football star who played at Atlanta’s Morris Brown College and also in the NFL.

When it came to kidney disease, he had been there and done that. Blackwell took to social media to try to find a donor kidney back in 2021.

“My doctor told me if you want a new kidney, you have to tell people you need a new kidney,” Blackwell told Channel 2 Action News when we first met him last year.

This year, Blackwell convinced Hammond to do what he did — to take his story public, especially on social media.


So Hammond followed his advice.

This week at school, the man who is not a fan of surprises received one that was off the charts.

Alan Reeves is a perfect match for Hammond’s kidney.

His family is part of the McIntosh High School community.

When he learned Hammond needed help, he decided to step up and save a life.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

“This morning, while taking my kids to school, they were telling the teachers, ‘Daddy’s got a kidney! Daddy’s got a kidney!’ Knowing I don’t have to worry about that, and knowing they don’t have to worry about that, is amazing. It really is,” Hammond said.

He said only emergency transplants are taking place right now because of a nursing shortage, so his surgery is set for February.