Sally-Ann Roberts / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Justin Kennedy loves doing battle in the kitchen. He has been on several television cooking competitions.
You may have seen Justin come away with the top prize on Last Call Food Brawl, but that feat pales in comparison with the good deed he is about to perform for his brother.
Justin and older brother Johnny work side by side in the kitchen of their family restaurant, the Mid-City institution Parkway Bakery and Tavern. The brothers have always been close.
"We'll be a lot closer come July 15,” Justin said.
“We'll be literally closer,” Johnny said.
On July 15, Justin will give one of his kidneys to Johnny.
“I've got one brother and I've got two kidneys,” Justin said. “I don't think about nothing else. That's it.”
Johnny, 32, has a deteriorating kidney disease and his kidney function is now down to just 17 percent. He was nearing the point of dialysis when his 28-year-old brother Justin volunteered to be his kidney donor.
“That's amazing, because I mean, like, how can I put this – like, for me, I have to go through this. I’m getting choked up. He had to make a conscious decision to take his guts out, basically, just so that I can live.”
Justin doesn't only make the perfect po-boy. He is a perfect genetic match to be his brother's donor.
“And here’s another thing. Here’s the selfish brother thing too. I’m going to hang it over his head,” Justin said, laughing. “Whenever he does a good job, I’m going to say it’s because I’m in ya, buddy.”
They will have to take some time off from their beloved parkway for the transplant and recovery but they look forward to justin's new lease on life.
“He's going to get up earlier in the morning, he’s going to be more agile, his stamina is going to be better, because he’s going to have a piece of me in him,” Justin said.
“I’m just not going to be as good looking as I was,” Johnny said.
After all, they are brothers.
“It’ll actually make us both better people,” Justin said.
The Be the Match Foundation and WWL-TV are proud to present the first Masquerading for a Match Fundraiser to support people in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
The event will take place on Friday, July 12 from 8 p.m. to midnight, at the New Orleans board of trade located at 316 Magazine Street. Tickets are $25.00 dollars each.
For more information, click here.