Community coming together to support Harrisonburg man with lupus

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — After struggling with lupus since 2009, Dexter Jones of Harrisonburg has a chance for a normal life.

Dex Jones and Brian Jones. | Credit: WHSV

Jones completed a couple rounds of chemotherapy in past years in hopes of sending his lupus into remission, and it worked once.

But over time the autoimmune disease was slowly killing his kidney function.

"It kind of held steady at 10 percent function. Doctors had told me anything below 10 percent was life threatening," Jones said.

Not much longer after that, Dexter got the call. He only had 4 percent function of his kidney, and he needed to start dialysis three days a week. That's when his friend Brian Jones stepped up to help.

"I just wanted to do whatever I could do to help. Once the first test came back that we were a match for the blood type, I wanted to go further," Jones said. He added, "He's got friends and family that need him and love him, and he didn't ask for it, and ultimately I would want someone to step up for me. So, it wasn't a question."

After many tests and hospital visits that lasted over a year, the two found out they were a complete match for a kidney transplant.

"He's been a blessing in my life for my kids for him to just take it upon himself to do this and give me the opportunity to live somewhat of a normal life,” Jones said.

The recovery time is three to five months. A fundraiser was started to make sure they would be financially stable while taking off work.

"All over the area, we've had tremendous support. It's been great to see how many people have actually poured in blessings and donated to the cause," Jones said.

"It blew up and to see it pour in like that was amazing," Jones added.

Jones has had to stick to a strict diet, take medication every day and miss out on time with his kids because of his health and he's looking forward to changing all that.

"Team Jones, man, Team Jones!"