Ohio father Jon Montgomery’s family is happy to be spending Thanksgiving together this year and is sharing their story in the hopes of inspiring others
When Jon Montgomery’s two boys found out they may become living donors, their father was waiting for a kidney and liver transplant — they all worked together to save their father.
“I’m always thanking them,” Jon Montgomery, 55, of East Liverpool, Ohio, told People. “It’s just an unbelievable blessing.”
The family is happy to be spending Thanksgiving together this year and is sharing their story in the hopes of inspiring others to donate their organs.
When Montgomery lost seventy-five pounds without trying two years ago, the family discovered that his liver and kidneys were deteriorating.
“We panicked,” says the dad, who owns a dental laboratory. “How do you survive two organs failing? It was just a terrible time.”
Montgomery’s health continued to deteriorate, therefore he was added to the transplant list for dead donors.
His family was informed about the prospect of a living donor transplant while he was in the hospital. His other son Christopher offered to donate a kidney to his father, and his son Jonathan immediately offered to donate a chunk of his liver.
Both brothers stressed that they wanted to become donors; their father had not asked them for anything.
“There was no question,” Christopher, a 24-year-old dental student at the University of Pittsburgh. “I want to keep him around as long as I can…I want him to know my children. I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
The fact that they matched their father makes both brothers happy.
“My dad’s one of my best friends,” added Jonathan, 25, who is earning a PhD in biochemistry at Ohio State. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure he’s okay because I know he would do the same for us.”
A double transplant that saved a life was carried out at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre on August 1.
“They’re a very remarkable family,” says Dr Abhinav Humar, Chief of Transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. “A very close-knit family where the sons are obviously willing to do anything for their father.”
After the transplant, Montgomery didn’t even have words to thank his sons. “All I could do was just hug them,” he says.
“My two boys, they sacrificed so much to do this for me, but two weeks later, three weeks later, they’re living their lives again,” he adds, going on to praise their “amazing gift.”
His sons want more people will register as live donors.
“You took a couple weeks out of your life to change somebody else’s? It’s worth it every time,” Jonathan says. “Before we knew that we were able to donate, things were very bleak. We were scared, we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
“Since the surgery, when I look at my dad and I can see the smile on his face, it’s so genuine. You can tell that he is just so happy now,” the 25-year-old adds. “He’s back.”