Local man needs a kidney transplant

Green County native Ernest Fulton needs a kidney.

Photo credit: Shellie Smitley

Madison Dairy Queen employees wear shirts, May 3, promoting assistant manager Ernest Fulton’s need for a kidney transplant within eight months.


Dairy Queen in Madison is standing up to help take care of one of its own.

Ernest Fulton, 46, needs a kidney. The Greene County native was diagnosed with kidney failure last summer due to high blood pressure. Doctors at Emory Hospital have informed him that if he does not get a kidney transplant within six to eight months, he will be confined to the hospital for daily dialysis treatments.

Fulton resides currently in Madison and is the assistant manager at Dairy Queen. He has worked there for approximately four years. The fast-food restaurant held a benefit for its team member May 3 from 4 to 10 p.m. Fifty percent of the sales were contributed to Fulton’s kidney foundation. Approximately $1500 was raised.


Fulton first began the struggle with high blood pressure six years ago. He was not suffering anything out of the ordinary but found out his blood pressure was high during a routine checkup. Even with prescribed medications, his blood pressure did not regulate. After switching doctors, he was told last year that his kidneys were functioning at 14 percent. A kidney specialist was brought in.

“I went to work every day, it did not hurt, I was not tired, I felt fine,” he said. “I was shocked, I could not believe it, and it took a toll on me right there.”

Fulton began dialysis treatments after having catheters inserted in his chest, arm and stomach. He did not have health insurance to cover the initial surgery.  He is currently on Emory’s list of patients looking for a kidney donor. His blood pressure is under control, and he is receiving Medicare as he undergoes dialysis treatments two days a week.

The unexpected illness greatly affects Fulton’s ability to take care of his 18-year-old son who was born with spinal muscle atrophy and depends on a wheelchair for mobility. He is no longer able to lift him.

“It makes me feel bad that I can not do the things that I used to do,” he said. “It’s taking a toll on me.”

Dairy Queen has been supportive of their valued employee. Fulton continues to work even though he suffers from exhaustion after dialysis treatments. He doesn’t like to be idle for too long. Management sometimes insists that he goes home early.

“I have a good boss man, he always talks to me,” Fulton said. “He tells me’ go get some rest.”’

Fulton needs to transplant one kidney with a match for his B+ blood type. He has a Gofundme page and is trying to raise $5000 to help search for a donor. So far $235 has been raised. More information about Fulton can be found at his Facebook page- Ernest Fulton. 

“I pray everyday I find a kidney,” he said.

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