VERONA, Pa. (KDKA) – We’ve endured more than 11 months of a crippling pandemic, with uncertainty at every turn. But one Verona family says it would do it all again for a second chance at life.
Inside a Penn Hills home lives a family that shares everything: faith, a sense of humor, athleticism and now organs.READ MORE: CDC Advisers Set To Meet To Discuss COVID-19 Boosters
Brad Arrington’s son Maurice looks great now, but he woke up one day feeling off.
“The scariest thing for me was that I didn’t really have too many symptoms,” said Maurice.
He was tired with just some aches and pains.
That’s why doctors call it the silent killer.
“When we went into the hospital, we were just getting a simple check-up for like a sore throat and like a floater in the eye and this was just like a bomb,” said Brad.
Doctors diagnosed Maurice with end-stage kidney failure at just 40.
“Being the tragedies that we had dealt with my brothers, I wasn’t sure if this was something that was so much of a weight — if my family could go through it again,” said Maurice.
Joseph Arrington, the middle child, died at 15 from prostate cancer. And little Marcus died when he was just 5 years old, tragically struck by a car.
That’s three sons and now three heartaches.READ MORE: Butler VA To Host Fall Flu Shot Clinic
“I wasn’t given the opportunity to facilitate a change in the loss of my prior two sons. That I would be actually given the opportunity as a dad to facilitate a change for the good — I wasn’t handcuffed anymore,” said Brad. He could save this son.
And in a twist on the typical organ donation, he signed up as Maurice’s living donor.
“I’m dad and I want to be that guy,” he said.
UPMC’s Dr. Amit Tevar said Brad’s choice saved his son years.
“He’s about the healthiest guy I ever met in my life,” said Dr. Tevar, the director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program.
“If you’re on the list for a kidney transplant, and you are without a live donor, you’re looking about a 5 or 6-year wait,” said Dr. Tevar.
Now instead of waiting, Maurice can be the dad he’s always wanted to be, just like his.
“And hopefully stories like this and us being able to express this out opens the door for other people to not only be a donor but also have some type of comfortability with being a recipient,” said Maurice.
“We all need each other. We all need each other’s help. No matter how small you think it may be, it’s big in the whole picture,” said Brad.
The family says they were shocked to learn the other unique aspect of their donation. There’s only 390 African American people signed up as living donors nationwide. That compares to more than 800 Hispanic live donors and more than 4,000 white live donorsMORE NEWS: Authorities Investigating 2nd Fatal Crash Of Amateur-Built Aircraft Near Ohio Airport
And no matter your race, the organ needed the most right now is a kidney.