Hurricane Katrina survivor, CTX mentor needs kidney transplant and community help

Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:08-04

After dedicating his life to giving back to Central Texas, one man is now asking for help from his community.

Lionel Franklin is in desperate need of a kidney transplant and your help, so his second chance at life doesn't pass him by.

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans forcing thousands of people to relocate. 

Lionel Franklin is one of those people. 

"We lost, we lost everything. Where we lived, the water was 10 feet high," Franklin said.    

Since that day, the Franklin family has called Killeen home.

"I thought about President Kennedy that he said, don't ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, and I said about Killeen. I didn't want to come here and say woe is me, I left everything. I didn't want to have that mentality. I wanted to be able to give back," Franklin added. 

So, he did just that. His first two years in Killeen, he served in the jail ministry and regularly visited the juvenile detention center. 

In 2007, he opened the Killeen Wisdom Center on a mission to help the troubled turn their lives around, and that's where he met Julius Johnson, Jr. 

"I was on drugs and alcohol, and I wasn't doing too good with my life," Johnson said. 

Having sought help at the age of 62, Johnson said it was Franklin and the Killeen Wisdom Center that helped him redeem himself. 

"If he didn't put his foot down, I would still be out on the streets no doubt," Johnson added. "That man, that saved my life." 

But now, after a life of serving others, Franklin needs help. 

In 2015, Franklin went into kidney failure and was in a coma for a week. Last year, during a dialysis treatment, his heart stopped and he died. 

Today, he needs to raise thousands of dollars so he can afford the medication that comes with receiving a transplant. 

"He has helped so many people in this here community, so at this time, his time of need, it's his turn to get help," Johnson said. 

"I could get passed by, then I gotta wait for another, and you know, that could be years," Franklin said if he isn't able to raise the necessary funds. 

He needs to raise $15,000. 

If you would like to donate to Lionel Franklin's cause, you can send a tax-deductible donation to:

National Foundation for Transplants
Texas Transplant Fund 
In honor of Lionel Franklin
5350 Poplar Ave. Ste. 850
Memphis, TN 38119

Or online at

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