Florida man gets gift of life twice from same family

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 3:48 PM EDT
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A Florida man has received the gift of life twice from the same family. In a rare set of kidney transplants, a husband and wife donated their organs to the same man, 16 years apart.

Jeffrey Granger and Terri Herrington have an extraordinary bond.

"They are family. Not friends, they are family," Granger said.

It began 16 years ago when Terri's husband, Bryan, died in a work accident. His organs were donated to four people, including Jeffrey, who was suffering from diabetes complications. He received Bryan's pancreas and a kidney.

"Just knowing that their lives are moving forward and that they're growing and that they're, they're living life. Seeing that is a healing process," Terri said.

Terri and Jeffrey met a year after the transplant and remained very close. Then last year, Jeffrey's donated kidney began to fail.

"I didn't want to call Terri but I did," Jeffrey said. "I wanted her to be one of the first ones to know and she said, 'Don't worry about it. You'll get mine.' I was like you are crazy, girl! But I ended up with it."

The transplant was performed at the University of Florida Shands Hospital. Dr. Kenneth Adreoni says with more than 100,000 people waiting for a kidney in this country, living donors are critical to addressing the shortage.

"In most situations, a person who receives a living donor kidney will have that organ last nearly twice as long as if they received the average deceased donor graft," Andreoni said.

Terri and Jeffrey hope more people will give to others if they can.

"If they're healthy, and there's somebody that needs it... step up and get tested to see if you can be a living donor," Terri said.

"If one person gets saved with this story right here, I think we've met some kind of goal," Jeffrey said. "But the more the merrier."

They're both grateful to be able to make more memories together.

About one-third of all kidney transplants performed in the U.S. are from living donors.