SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Two decades ago, John Fitzgerald learned he had a kidney disease and would one day need a transplant. He wouldn't have ever imagined it would ultimately come from one of his sons.
It was nearly 20 years ago that he was diagnosed and John admits he put off the transplant for a long time until his condition worsened. But he had to set fear aside and his wife helped make the connections.
"There was a bit of anxiety and I guess you could say a bit of terror involved in the whole thing," John said. "My wife, Karen, she started calling around and we put some Facebook things out and we started calling relatives,"
She even called their sons, including one of their twin boys, Tom.
"(She asked) do you want to get tested? Uh, sure why not," Tom said.
He was a perfect match and in 2019, the transplant took place. Bringing these "kidney buddies for life" closer than ever.
"I never had children for spare body parts. I never, ever, ever in a million years thought that," he said.
Tom says providing the gift of life to the man who helped to create him means everything
"I'm happy my dad is still here to be with me," he said.
Currently, there are a little more than 2,500 people in Michigan waiting for a life-saving transplant and the majority are waiting for a new kidney.
John and Tom say they're sharing their story now to encourage others to be organ donors
"It’s so easy to become an organ donor - when you renew your license or you can go online and sign up," Tom said.
"There’s a lot of people on waiting list not a lot of people have a son like this who can donate to them," John said.
You can sign up to be an organ donor when you get your driver's license or on this website.
This father and son say they often take time out to celebrate this journey and this Fathers Day will be no different
"I am forever grateful. Forever grateful. He's off the hook for Christmas gifts, anniversary gifts, everything. He doesn't have to give me anything,"