MANHASSET, Long Island (WABC) -- Battling a terminal kidney disease, a father from Long Island held on to hope that one day he would find a donor who would help save his life.
Little did he know that life-saving donation wouldn't come from the generosity of a stranger but from his daughter.
Earlier this month, 34-year-old Stephanie Trotti donated one of her kidneys to her father Matthew Carlson.
Just months ago, his diseased kidneys made him so sick that he had to do almost half a year of dialysis.
"My kidneys were huge, said Carlson. "They were the size of footballs, and they came around to the front. They protruded that far."
As shown by the surgeon to Eyewitness News, Carlson's kidneys were diseased and overgrown by cysts.
He knew he was in trouble because his mother died from the same disease, nearly a decade ago.
Thankfully, through genetic testing, he learned that his daughter and his son did not have the same gene.
"Wonderful feeling learning that it doesn't skip a generation," he said.
The surgery to remove Stephanie's kidney involved bringing it out through her belly button, which didn't require stitches afterward.
On Tuesday, the father and daughter got the chance to say thank you to the team who helped save a life.
"If you fast forward and ask living donors, what's the best thing they've done in life - weddings, children - donating a kidney is on that level," said transplant surgeon Dr. Elliot Grodstein.
As a result of this journey, Carlson and Trotti's message to everyone now is to get genetic testing as soon as possible and be a living donor.
"Nobody told us that's why we're telling people," said Carlson. "Start looking for this, talk to family or friends, get genetic testing."