Man gets kidney from daughter, then granddaughter

July 26, 2013 7:52:15 PM PDT
A family is sharing their amazing story of love, sacrifice, and survival.

"You guys, I love you, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you," said Willie West, Kidney recipient.

And there's nothing that Willie West's family wouldn't do for them.

Nine years ago, his daughter donated her kidney to give him a new lease on life.

And when that kidney failed, West's granddaughter decided to follow in her mother's footsteps.

"You can live with one kidney and especially if you want to donate to someone who you love, why not," said Imani Lindsey, Willie's granddaughter.

The surgery happened Thursday night at Mount Sinai, which has a center for living donation.

The donor waiting list in New York for a new kidney is four to seven years, far too long for a 68-year-old on dialysis.

"We put the new kidney on the other side, so he now has four kidneys," said Dr. Scott Ames, surgeon.

He has four kidneys because surgeon Dr. Scott Ames says it's safer not to remove the failing kidneys, which could complicate things.

Dr. Ames performed Thursday's transplant and the original transplant operation nine years ago.

"This is a kind of a legacy sort of kidney because his daughter donated and then his granddaughter, the daughter of the original donor," Dr. Ames said.

It's a legacy kidney for a man who served his country in both Vietnam and the Gulf War.

Eyewitness News first met Willie West back in April.

"My daughter came by to see me, and she decided to become a donor," Willie West said.

He was nervous and apprehensive about another transplant then, but also excited and hopeful, which is how he feels now.

It's rare to get a second chance in life.

Veteran Willie West has gotten a third chance, thanks to his granddaughter.

"Becoming a donor is really not that dangerous, and the good it does, really outweighs the little risk," Willie West said.