SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Bill Millard is now carrying one of Janice Mackinnon's kidneys. The operation was a success. The journey--an unlikely one.
"Well, before I didn't have much of a life, always really sick. But I'm feeling a lot better," Millard said.
This was Millard before the surgery. Only four weeks later, he's looking at lot healthier and is no longer hooked up to a dialysis machine.
"They told him a few years ago, he wouldn't live to see 40, and here it is he's 49 he's still alive, I don't know how but now he can live until he's 70," his wife Tish Millard said. "We still have to monitor his transplant, the function and that's something we do lifelong but we don't see why he couldn't live a normal life once again."
Nearly 10 years ago Millard's son Kalem suffered an ATV accident.
The Millards made the hard decision to donate his organs.
His pancreas helped save the life of a then 19-year-old Petaluma boy named Jake Mackinnon.
And yes, last month Millard received a kidney from Jake's mother Janice.
This diagram may help you understand it better.
After the Mallards lost their son, his pancreas was given to Jake Mackinnon. Janice Mackinnon, his mother, then donated her kidney to bill Millard.
"More than 200 kidney transplants a year are performed every year at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco," Dr. Parul Patel said. "This one was certainly one of the more unusual one given the families involved."
Having a functioning kidney is liberating to both Millard and his wife Tish.
"We're going to go somewhere, we're going to do something, take a cruise or something because we couldn't do anything like that at all because he was always hooked up to a machine."
The next big event for these two families will be Jake's wedding, which will happen on the one-year anniversary of this latest transplant.
This managed to happen because both families have kept in touch.
Once a year, the Mackinnons have a tree lighting ceremony to honor the Millards and their son.
They will now have another reason to be even closer as families.