October 30, 2020

Local man donates kidney to ailing father

(Franklin, GA) — A local man and his father are recovering after kidney transplant surgery last week. 38-year-old Matthew Pollard of Franklin donated one of his kidneys to his father Harold Pollard at Emory University Hospital last Friday in order to improve Harold’s way of life.

Harold had been on dialysis since a health scare in March of 2015 and according to Matthew, the decision to help his father with the life-saving donation was an easy one.

“My father worked his tail off to give me the best life he possibly could, and I felt like I owed him since he gave me life,” says Matthew. “It’s the least that I can do to help him extend his life and improve the quality of his life.”

Matthew is married to Karen Pollard, third grade teacher at Heard Elementary School and they have two children in the first grade at HES, Makenna and Kelsie.

Matthew Pollard (L) and his father Harold (R) are both recovering well after a successful kidney transplant surgery on Friday, November 11

Matthew Pollard (L) and his father Harold (R) are both recovering well after a successful kidney transplant surgery on Friday, November 11

Harold is retired from the City of Carrollton and the United States Postal Service and has been married to Matthew’s mom for 40 years.

Matthew refers to his father as his hero and says he was distraught when he first became ill last year.

” In March of 2015, I got a call that would forever change not just my own life but more importantly my father’s life. The person on the other end of the phone was my only sister Jennifer. I could hear the panic in her voice, and she told me to hurry to the hospital in Bremen because our dad was in bad shape,” says Matthew.

Of course, Karen and I rushed right up there to see what was going on. When we arrived, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. My dad was unresponsive and unable to breathe on his own. I lost it. My dad is my hero and has been for as long as I can remember. To see him in that condition was too much for me to take.”

Haorld was reluctant to go on dialysis at first until doctors told him he could not live without it.

“While he was being cared for the decision was made to start dialysis. My father knew dialysis was in the near future but was reluctant to start, because in typical fashion, he wanted to help get some things taken care of for my mom first. She had, after all, just been given the “all clear” after having to deal with breast cancer herself,” adds Matthew.

“If you know my father, you would not be surprised in the least that my dad was thinking of my mom’s needs over his own. The change was immediate. Dad was up and talking, but he knew that he had been real lucky and admitted his stubborn attitude had really come back to bite him. Now dialysis was as big a part of his life as anything.”

After being released from the hospital, Harold had to undergo dialysis at a treatment center for fours hours per day every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“As time went on, I watched my dad’s quality of life and his overall mood start to decrease, and I knew right then that something else had to be done. A transplant had been kicked around but never seriously talked about,” says Matthew. “By February, however, I sat my father down and told him — more or less — that I was donating a kidney to him, and he was going to take it!”

Matthew says his father was at first reluctant to discuss a transplant but as time wore on he knew it would be necessary to his survival.

“At first he didn’t seem that interested, and I asked him why,” Matthew stated. “As usual he was worried about me and the effect it would have on me to give up an organ. As time went on, however, he realized that he would need a new kidney, and I was totally hoping to be the person who would give it to him.”

Even once the decision was made by both father and son, the process of undergoing the transplant was very extensive and they have referred to Emory as their “second home” over the last several months.

Harold is very grateful for the gift from his son and what it means to his family.

“I am so thankful for everything that God has given me — a great wife of 40 years, two wonderful children who we are so proud, not to mention seven wonderful grandchildren, ” says Harold. “Our son Matt offered to give me a special gift — a gift that can give me a better quality of life and perhaps a few more years to enjoy my family if it’s God’s will.”

Matt doesn’t like to be referred to as a hero, he says his father is the real hero.

“I want to be very clear, in no way, shape, or form am I a hero or any of that. I am just a son who loves his dad — his hero — that’s all. I am willing to take on any pain or whatever hurdles life might have ready for me down the road so that my father can have a better way of life.  It was a no-brainer from day one.”

Matthew is originally from Bremen but has called Heard County home since 2008. He is an avid follower of Heard County sports.



  1. Prayers are with you and your family! I am happy to have known Mr Pollard and wish him the best! I was one of his dialysis nurses. We at the facility are so happy to see him have a wonderful family and another chance to have a better quality of life

  2. That’s my dad’s younger brother who was the recipient and my first cousin who donated. Thanks for sharing

  3. Mark Pollard says

    This kind of love and compassion is so inspiring. God bless them both for speedy recoveries!

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