FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — During this time when we celebrate the birthday of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a local man who follows in King’s footsteps is taking on a new fight — for his
own life.

Surgeons removed both of Michael Whiting’s kidneys last week. And now, the search is on for a donor offering a gift that could replace machines now keeping him alive.

“No justice! No peace!” That’s what Reverend Whiting shouted as he led a march along the
streets of downtown Portsmouth in June of 2020. That demonstration took place about 2 weeks after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Today, he’s had to change his focus. His one and only fight is to stay alive.

“March and April, I had blurry vision, I really couldn’t see,” said the pastor of First Baptist Burdette in Franklin.

He says his eye doctor gave him the first warning that something was drastically wrong.

“‘Swelling behind your eye balls.'”

Whiting’s eye doctor recommended he go to the hospital immediately.

“I was sitting in my room and 10 doctors came in there! And I was kinda confused. I said they must got the wrong patient,” Whiting said.

Pastor Whiting hoped their test results were wrong. But he learned his blood pressure was “out of control.” And, his kidneys were failing.

“‘Not only that, it looks like we see cancer on both of your kidneys.'” Whiting says he was told.

This man of God who, every Sunday, preaches “the word,” had only a few in reaction. “Mr. Don, I was, I was blown away!”

Reverend Whiting says surgeons removed both kidneys last Wednesday. He’s now on dialysis 3 days a week, to remove, clean and restore his blood.

The good news: surgery on his eye has helped restore his vision.

But now Whiting clearly sees what’s ahead. He needs someone to make a life-saving donation.

Whiting and his wife have two children, both adults, now. He says his faith, his family, and his doctors, have helped him stay positive over the past few months. But, now he needs one more person to take the extraordinary step that will change both their lives forever.

“I’m asking anyone, who’s led by God, to donate a kidney to me.”

To find out more about the organ donation process, call the Sentara Norfolk General’s Organ Donation Center at 757-388-3906.