A Son's Gift: father received living donor liver in transplant - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

A Son's Gift: father received living donor liver in transplant

By Ursula Madden - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Ten years ago, just two days after Father's Day in 1999, John Argiro received an incredible gift.

"It's a miracle that I'm here talking to you today," he said.
  
John's then 22-year-old son Tony gave him the gift of life when he donated more than half of his liver to father dad in a risky transplant procedure. 
  
"He is my dad, I was glad to be able to help him," said Tony.

At the time, surgeons were not eager to perform the operation.
  
John and Tony were some of the first related adults in the United States to undergo this type of transplant from a living donor.
  
"We're operating on a healthy person," said Dr. Han Grewel, who was part of the surgical team. "We're taking 55 percent of a liver from a healthy individual to save their life."
  
Doctors say living donor transplants would not have to happen if more people were willing to donate their organs. That's the very reason John and Tony are sharing their story again ten years later. 

"Where this procedure comes from is from a lack of organ donations, and I think as far as society and as a country, we're still lacking severely," said Tony.
  
Both men hope that changes soon because John is again living with a bad liver as a result of a condition called primary biliary scerosis.

"What destroyed my liver has come back," he said.
  
And this time, Tony can't help his dad because the living donor liver transplant was a one-time operation.

John does not need a transplant yet, and he says he's grateful for the extra time he's already been given.

"Retire from my company, to meet and be with my grandchildren, to be at my children weddings, and most importantly...to celebrate 40 years with my wife, Suzi," he said.
  
Tony says if he could become a donor for his dad again, he would, simply out of gratitude. "Redeem some of the effort he put into me, into molding me into a son and father."
  
The gift of life is a bond shared by this father and son, giving Father's Day a deeper meaning for John and Tony Argiro.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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