MOULTRIE -- Imagine having to wake up at 4 a.m. three times a week every week. Now imagine having to wake up that early to go and get medical treatment for up to six hours those three days. Now imagine that's been a routine for almost four years.

For most people, that is something they will never have to go through. For Billy Lawton, however, that is exactly what he does routinely.

Lawton has kidney dialysis done three times a week at the Moultrie Dialysis Clinic. He has done this for almost four years now.

A kidney transplant would help to "make life 90 percent better," Lawton said. He has an available donor in his sister but needs some additional finances for the procedure and any expenses following the transplant. He is grateful that a family member is willing to help him out in such a large way.

"It's a big step when a family member gives themselves up for another family member," Lawton said. "Me and my sister, we're real close"

Lawton said a figure of $2,000 would help to cover the expenses of medication should anything happen to him, such as his body rejecting the transplanted kidney. A special account has been set up at American Banking Company to help raise money for Lawton and his family.

Following the potential transplant and recovery period, Lawton said he wants to return to work in order to help out his parents and 4 year-old daughter. During the dialysis, he does work the occasional odd job, but he cannot work consistently because of his dialysis schedule.

Lawton said he would advise everyone to eat right and to get regular check-ups and physicals to maintain good kidney health. Hypertension and high blood pressure are signs of a possible kidney problem.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help Lawton can stop by any of American Banking Company's branches or can send in a check to the bank. Make sure the funds are designated to Karon Kilgore in care of Billy Lawton.

For additional information on kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation Web site at www.kidney.org. March has been designated as National Kidney Disease Awareness Month.

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