Macon Playwright & Authoress Willie Mae Smith Receives Kidney Transplant
by Amanda Smith
Macon playwright and authoress Willie Mae Smith received a very important call in June of 2010 -- doctors in Atlanta told her that they finally had a kidney for her and that she could undergo a kidney transplant -- something that Smith had been waiting on for years.
"I first began having kidney problems back in the 1970s," said Smith. "Doctors said that my high blood pressure had damaged my kidneys." In 1993, Smith began receiving kidney dialysis treatments three times a week and in 1996, doctors informed her that she needed a new kidney. Smith was promptly put on the donor list and began her long wait. "When they called me in June, I went straight to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and had the surgery the next afternoon," she said.
Smith's hospital stay lasted only a week and she attributes her fast recovery to following her doctor’s orders. "I wasn't supposed to eat or drink while I was on the kidney machine," she said. "And I did what I was told to do." After her release from the hospital, Smith had to return for follow-up visits weekly for awhile and then every two weeks. Recently, she has had to return only once a month and has another visit on November 23, 2010. "I hope they release me then and I won’t have to go anymore," Smith said. Smith’s doctor in Macon is Dr. Mufid Othman, Professor of Nephrology and Internal Medicine at Mercer Medical School. "Mrs. Smith is doing wonderfully and has almost perfect kidney function now," said Dr. Othman. "It's like a new kidney was given to her by God."
Smith graduated from Fort Valley State University in 1981 with a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She taught at the Academy for the Blind in Macon and at the YDC (Youth Detention Center) in Milledgeville for many years. Smith retired from both positions in 2003. She is a member of Macedonia Baptist Church in Macon, where the Reverend Eddie Smith is pastor. "Willie Mae had tried for years to get a kidney and one finally came through," said Rev. Smith. "She was back in church after just three or four months and is doing very well."
Words have always been Willie Mae Smith’s passion. She has written a book of poetry entitled One Step at a Time and a play entitled Yes, Lord - This is Homecoming! Her play debuted at in 2003 and played to a full house. Smith also penned a novel entitled That’s My White Boy in 2009 and held a book signing on November 26, 2010 at the Macon Mall.
Willie Mae Smith was adopted as a child by Mary Ann Hopkins, who has passed. Smith's father has also passed away. She has one daughter --Darbra Walton -- who works with the United States Post Office in Macon and a grandson, Terrance Darby Roberts.