A Mother’s Love

Published 11:27 am Friday, March 16, 2012

GATESVILLE – No matter how old they become….no matter what hand of cards life may deal, a mother’s love for her children remains unconditionally steadfast.

Such is the case of Judith Johnson Voliva-smith of Gatesville, a mother making a plea to the public to help provide financial assistance so that her 43-year-old son can live.

Joseph C. Voliva is hundreds of miles away inGreensboro. He has been diagnosed with Renal Kidney Failure. Both kidneys have been reduced to what his mom calls “charcoal nuggets.” He needs a kidney transplant to survive. For the time being he is on kidney dialysis three times a week.

“Joseph qualified for a new kidney and was on the kidney transplant list, but was taken off December 1 of last year because he no longer qualified for Medicaid and having to have a significant amount of money in the bank to start his journey in seeking a donor,” Judith said. “He must have money in a medical trust account before he can reapply for the transplant list.”

After discussing the situation with her attorney, a decision was made to establish a special fund for Joseph through a bank. That fund – Joseph Cleaton Voliva Special Needs Trust – is now set up at the Gatesville branch of Southern Bank and will help cover the cost of his medical expenses.

“Please take part in giving Joseph another chance to live as near normal life as he can with a kidney transplant,” Judith asked. “We are asking God’s favor that the financial needs shall be met and a donor that is hand-picked for Joseph with God’s blessings and anointment.

“We all have our own journeys to make; this is Joseph’s journey,” she added. “We are praying that in due season, all is well for him and we will give God all the glory.”

The mother gave that glory to the man upstairs over 40 years ago.

“I was blessed with a son that was born from my heart and not my belly,” she said, referencing that Joseph is adopted. “From the moment he came into my life was the very beginning of his journey.  His Dad and I kept in our heart the all American dream for him to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

As is normally the case, families face mountains to climb and deep, dark valleys in which to travel in life – each designed to test the pure will and fortitude of those individuals.

“Joseph is full of talents and abilities that have not yet completely surfaced,” his proud mother said. “He served with the US Army and the NC Army National Guard in the Airborne Infantry andCalvarystarting when he was 16 years old.  The motive was to serve his country and earn money for his education.

“He did very well in school and completed his service from the Army with an honorable discharge,” she continued. “At this point he was ready to start a new life for himself by entering college atEastCarolinaUniversity.  He encountered disappointments and complications that brought forth a detour in his life which is when his blessings appeared to be less than what he expected by the efforts of his choices and decisions.”

As an ever watchful mom, Judith said she knew her son’s health was beginning to decline, making it stressful on him to carry on all the duties and goals of his dreams.

“I saw so many red flags of poor health, but could not put my finger on the problem.  The main issue always seemed to be high blood pressure and almost yearly kidney stones,” she recalled.

At that time, the family was living in theGreensboroarea. To make things even more complicated, Joseph’s father passed away on Jan. 6, 2010.

By October of that same year, Judith faced yet another mountain to climb – her parents (Mr. & Mrs. William Joseph Johnson – better known by many as “Mama Dot” and “Daddy Bill”) back inGatesCountyhad reached that stage of their senior years where they needed assistance.

“I returned home on Jan. 8 of last year to become the back-up caretaker for my parents,” Judith said. “One month later I got a phone call from Joseph, telling me he was in the hospital with kidney failure.  He was immediately put on dialysis. His whole life changed, now being disabled and in constant pain.”

If it’s any consolation in the fact that Judith cannot immediately be at her son’s side in his time of need, she said it was comforting to know that his sweetheart, Amanda, is there, caring for him 24/7.

“Everywhere Joseph would go, the twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes, the smile he kept on his face, and his tender soft spoken voice would draw the attention of others,” Judith said. “It’s those thoughts of him that keeps me going day after day.

“We were not rich in money, but we are contained with God’s tender mercy and love. I’m asking those that are able to please help my son in any way you can. The size of the gift doesn’t matter, each and every dollar will be very much appreciated,” she stressed.

Judith and her 16-year-old granddaughter, Holly (who she is raising and homeschooling), are doing everything within their power to circulate Joseph’s story, to include FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube.

“I must give Holly most of the credit as she is so dedicated in making his miracle happen,” Judith said.  “Joseph and Holly are bonded as he has always been her father figure, even though he is her uncle.”

Despite the fact that her son experiences constant daily pain in his feet, legs and hips, and his fingernails are becoming paper thin, Judith remains optimistic.

“Joseph is very intelligent and has a promising future once he gets the kidney transplant,” she closed.

For more information on how you can contribute or to learn more about possibly becoming a donor, visit www.twitter.com/KidneyforJoseph or www.facebook.com/KidneyforJoseph.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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