Two Members of "The McKameys" Back on Stage After Kidney Transplant

Knoxville (WVLT) - It's been three weeks since 13 year old Eli Fortner received a kidney from his father, Roger.

It's a surgery that has changed their lives and now they are finally back on stage with the southern gospel group "The McKameys".

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt sat down with the Fortner's to talk about their recovery.

Roger and Eli Fortner can finally get back to their music.

Besides sharing their love of gospel, they now share something else.

Rogers says, "Eli got my left kidney and they put it in and it began to work instantly, it started working and it's working pretty well."

In fact, doctors say the surgery was almost text book perfect. A huge relief for Roger.

"My wife tells me the first thing i said probably when i came to is how's Eli? And she kept telling me he's fine, he's doing great."

The first thing Eli asked for? His big glass of sweet tea.

"How was it?" "Great!"

It's been a long road to get here.

Since he was a baby, Eli has had kidney problems.

This surgery is life changing.

Roger says, "It's almost like we've had this thing happen in our life and we're on the back side of it and our lives are trying to get back to normal."

Normal is now how Eli feels.

"I'm feeling better than I was before."

He says it's a little weird having his father's kidney, but Roger doesn't dwell on it.

"Occasionally i'll think of that and i'll think, yea it's in there, but he's doing great."

So great, they're ready to grab their guitars and get back on stage with The McKamey's.

Eli says, "It's fun! You get the energy from being on stage and from all them people it's just a lot of fun playing."

And Eli's not being shy about taking sympathy.

"Eli is there anything else you want to say? No, but i'm still taking sweet teas!"

The Fortner's say they're extremely thankful for all of the cards and e-mails they've received showing support.

To find out where the McKamey's will be next, log on to our webchannel, click on the link below.


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  • by LINDA MCBURNETT Location: ROME GEORGIA on Nov 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM
    I WANTED YOU ALL TO KNOW THAT GOD USES YOU TO KEEP ME . STRONG IN HIM. I LOVE ALL OF YOU.I WILL ALWAYS PRAY FOR YOU.
  • by Jo Location: Bartlett, TN on Oct 31, 2007 at 01:34 AM
    Wow! I am still amazed by God's grace. I was doing a websearch for your website and ran across the news. I am so grateful to God for taking care of you both and supplying Eli's and the families' needs. I was wondering if and when you'd be at East Hills Baptist Church in Bartlett, TN again. Well, I can see you again when you are able to come, if I find out the date in advance. I just want you to take care and heal from your many years of trials. God bless you all. I love you all in Christ. Your songs carried my husband through his 7 yr. battle of heart failure and on to glory! He would just shout right along with you and Peg when he played your songs. Thanks for proclaiming the good news in music and the spiritual inspiration and encouragement to the saints. Look forward to seeing you in concert again, Lord willing. Jo, Bartlett, TN
  • by Myrtle Location: near Ocala Florida on Oct 27, 2007 at 11:28 PM
    Hi Eli and Roger..praise God for His great blessings....I am so very happy to hear the news on the both of you. You are both servants of our great and awesome God.I know how medical conditions can be so life altering. Your testimony on all you have been through will reach many. I know that God is going to use this difficult time for good and that others will come to Him as a result. I praise God for all of you and I look foward to seeing all of in concert again one day...I will keep you in prayer. I am sure Connie is so relieved that it all has gone so well. God is in control of all..and He uses it for His glory if we let Him. I know He will with your testimony. I can just imagine Peg now...jumping and singing and smiling and crying tears of joy..absolute joy.I rejoice with all of you...and send a big hug to each of you...Love Myrtle
  • by CIndy Location: Rockwood, TN! on Oct 26, 2007 at 10:08 PM
    Dear Roger and Eli! Well the prayers and many of them reached the throne room of God's grace and mecry! Yes your songs will mean ever so much more like I've Won & He's Still GOD! I am so happy for the both of you!! Giving GOD! all the Glory too! Has Peg "quit!" shouting yet??? Seems like I here her still!! (lol) Right down here in Roane County! Yes I hear Nana shouting! Connie you need some rest too! GOD has made this trial a blessing but now you all 3 need to take care and be sure and NOT get the flu either! Eli we love you buddy! Don't get sick on that sweet tea! Roger may God's grace and blessing be with you all the days that you live! Connie just keep on keeping on for Jesus!! I KNOW that you will! Remember your precious had a battle and the victory in Jesus has been WON! YES! You all have WON! thru GOD"S grace divine! love and prayers! Cindy R'wood
  • by Mary Lou Location: Atlanta, Ga. on Oct 23, 2007 at 11:48 AM
    I am a member of The Lambdins, a gospel singing group. Some of the members of our group grew up in a small town of Jellico, Tn. near Clinton. The McKameys have blessed us with their wonderful, spirit filled singing for many years. We were so happy to see the video and to know that Roger & Eli are recovering so well. They have been in our prayers during this time. May God bless you as you travel and minister in song and testimony for him. You have been through a test but now you will have an even greater testimony. Like the song we sing,"It's been a long journey but I have been blessed." Praise God for all he has done for you. We look forward to seeing you all when you come back to Georgia. God bless you. Mary Lou Burney The Lambdins.
  • by Mary E. Easterwood Location: Texas on Oct 22, 2007 at 11:10 PM
    I am so happy to hear that you are both doing so well. I am a cancer survivor and I also share the joy of living in God's grace, I hope to see you-ALL in Temple, Texas this week. Congratulations, my love and my prayers go with you.

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