MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Transplant surgeons in Memphis are asking Mid-Southerners to consider giving the gift of life this holiday season. There's an organ shortage across the country even though transplants have been proven to dramatically change people's lives for the better.
Organ transplants have given a set of twins a different outlook this holiday season.
There’s not much you can do to tell Perry and Jerry Miller apart. Luckily, the twins had their names printed on their shirts when WMC Action News 5 met them during a routine visit to Methodist University Hospital’s James D. Eason Transplant Institute. But something noticeably different is the dates on the shirts. The dates are when Perry and Jerry got their kidney transplants.
“After he got his I saw how much he was improving and how much he could move around,” Perry Miller said about his brother. “It got to me that one day I was going to get a kidney.”
That one day for Perry was in September, while Jerry has been living with his new kidney since 2014.
For the first time in well over a decade, the twins will spend their first Christmas together without one or both of them being on dialysis.
“When we got our transplants, it was like we're twins again,” Jerry Miller said. “We're solid all over again.”
Like their looks, the Millers’ journeys to their kidney transplants are similar. Both had kidney failure and had to do dialysis three times a week. Both were on dialysis for close to 15 years before getting a transplant.
“Our major problem in this country is organ shortage,” said Dr. Manish Talwar with the James D. Eason Transplant Institute.
Talwar said the transplant institute has done about 120 kidney transplants this year, but more than 1,000 people are waiting for one.
A majority, 95%, of kidney transplant recipients live longer lives than patients who stay on dialysis. More donors mean more families like the Millers get to spend more Christmases together.
“This is a disease society has to take care of,” Talwar said. “Society has to step up and donate more organs.”
To become an organ donor click here.