LOS ANGELES - This Father's Day is especially meaningful for one California man. He's alive thanks to a rare triple-organ transplant after a genetic health condition nearly killed him.
Wayne Darrington takes nearly 30 pills a day to keep his body from rejecting 3 new organs. The 57-year old's health issues started more than 20 years ago when he began having trouble breathing. His wife, Jennifer Darrington, says "When he would come home, it would take him 15, 20 minutes just to get to the front door."
After a lung biopsy, Wayne was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a condition that causes abnormal proteins to build up in organs, eventually causing them to fail. Wayne says, "There is no cure for hereditary amyloidosis, and the only thing that you really do is when things get worse you get an organ transplantation."
Things did get worse in May of last year. Wayne was admitted to the ER with his heart, both lungs and kidney on the brink of failure. After four months in the hospital he got the call. "They called me on a Wednesday in the hospital room, they said we found an organ donor."
Wayne received a heart, 2 lungs and a kidney, all from the same donor. Dr. Abbas Ardehali of UCLA School of Medicine says, "The number of such procedures in country are a handful per year, if that."
Dr. Ardehali performed part of Wayne's rare triple transplant at UCLA and says cases like Wayne's highlight the critical need for organ donation. Dr. Ardehali says, "Without the generosity of a donor family at a time of tragedy, we would not be able to do what we do every day."
Wayne knows very little about his donor but would like to know more. He wrote the family a letter. Wayne says "I really let the donor's family know just how appreciative I was for the sacrifice that their loved one made."
He hopes to one day meet the donor's family face-to-face to say thank you for his new life.