16-Year-Old Missing His Old Life
ROTC is among the many activities Destin used to enjoy before his diagnosis that he can no longer participate in.
Destin Perkins, a 16-year-old fighting kidney failure, has had to completely re-work his life. The young man used to be a vibrant, active and sports-loving child. But, a little bit of protein found in his urine during a routine annual physical for the football team changed everything.
Just two years ago, when Destin was 14, his whole life turned upside-down. The avid hunter, Junior ROTC officer and sportsman found out his young body was failing him. He discovered he had one kidney that didn't work at all and another that operated at just 13% effectiveness. Destin had to give up all of his sports and leisure activities and any hobbies that took him outdoors.
Destin's mother, Angie, gave up a lot too. It became her full-time job to be her only son's nurse. She currently is shuttling him back and forth to dialysis at least twice a week. The rest of the week, the two try to recover from the exhausting treatments.
In 2005, Angie decided she wanted to give her son, as she says, "life again." She was medically tested and proved to be a compatible donor for her son. She and Destin went in for surgery.
Sadly, Destin's ailing body rejected his mother's generous gift. Since the fall of 2005, Angie has been dealing with complications from the invasive surgery and Destin continues his bi-weekly treatments.
Still, Angie says she'd do it all again, and even give him her only kidney, the last she has left, if she could.
In 2005, Angie decided she wanted to give her son, as she says, "life again."
Deal With The Devil?
Byron Perkins was in and out of jail much of his son Destin's life.
In desperation, Angie and Destin turned to the next person on the list... Destin's father and Angie's ex-husband, Byron Perkins. Angie and Byron had divorced many years ago, after what Angie calls years of abuse. Perkins was largely absent from Destin's life because the career criminal was in and out of jail throughout much of his son's youth.
The problem this time was Perkins was back in jail. Following an arrest on a string of armed home invasion robberies, Perkins pled guilty in federal court to weapons charges and drug trafficking. The only way Perkins could help Destin was to solicit the judge for a temporary release for medical testing.
In mid-January 2006, after many hearings and the establishment of a very strict schedule, Perkins was allowed out of lock-up for medical testing. On the outside, cops say Perkins went to all of his appointments and returned to custody as scheduled. It seemed his intents were true.
Once the results came back a positive, the authorities worked with Perkins, his lawyer and a team of medical professionals to arrange for the second round of tests. Destin got a much-needed sliver of hope that his life might soon return to normal. Angie remembered being excited that maybe her ex was finally doing their son right. She, too, hoped that one day Destin could return to his many outdoor and sporting adventures.
Perkins got out again, this time for a final round of tests. If he passed this group of exams, he would be able to have the surgery and donate his kidney to Destin. Marshals say it all seemed routine, like the first round of tests. But this time was different. And cops say, he didn't show up for the scheduled tests and doctor's appointments and he never came back to custody.
AMW Viewers Get Involved
Destin loved sports, but unfortunately because of his health can no longer participate in baseball, football, hunting and the other outdoor activities he loves.
Destin's Father, Byron Perkins »
National Kidney Foundation »
Perkins' Alleged Companion on the Run, LeaAnn Howard »
United Network for Organ Sharing »
US Marshals say that Perkins fled with his girlfriend, LeaAnn Howard. They added the pair to the Marshals Top 15 and the heartless duo earned a spot on John Walsh's Dirty Dozen.
After Perkins and Howard aired on AMW, viewers came out in force with incredible offers of generosity.
In an amazing outpouring of love, nearly 100 callers told the AMW hotline they were willing to give Destin one of their kidneys.
Almost 900 times, AMW viewers have led police straight to the criminals profiled on the show. But, never before have callers been so selfless and generous.
Destin and his mother, Angie, are touched by the generosity. They know that this process takes time and they are grateful so many AMW watchers are there to support them.
This outpouring just strengthens their resolve, along with the US Marshals, to get both Perkins and Howard back in custody as soon as possible and before they hurt any other people.
In the meantime, the Louisville doctors and hospitals treating Destin are overwhelmed with offers. Destin's current transplant outlook is to first work with family members to find a matched donor. Good Samaritan kidney donors are not being looked at at this time.
Instead, Kosair Children's Hospital and Norton Health Care are encouraging those people moved by Destin's story to reach out to nationwide programs that help people in Destin's condition.
You can find more about where and how you can help people suffering from kidney failure through the National Kidney Foundation and the
at United Network for Organ Sharing.