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"It's a small investment I can make in having a dad around," said photojournalist Chance Horner about his decision to give one of his kidneys to his father.
"It's a great weight loss motivation," he added. "It's like hey, drop some pounds or your dad dies. That's motivation."
A Heroic Journey
Horner, who works as a photographer for WFAA in Dallas, Texas, was worried someone in the news room would write a story about his donation. That's exactly what happened, albeit with a little arm-twisting.
Horner's father, David Horner, 63, is a high school coach with a "awesome Santa Claus beard," and diabetes that was going to make him go into kidney failure.
Tomorrow, I give my dad a kidney.— Chance Horner (@chancehorner) February 19, 2019
David Horner is a special man. He’s given every bit of himself to our family, his students, and his friends. I’m so excited to give a little back to a man who’s given so much to so many. pic.twitter.com/mscKKKBhUD
He was going through dialysis three times a week, an exhausting thing to do to your body, until Chance eventually wore him down.
"I had to talk him into just trying it," Chance said. "Because he didn't want me to do it."
But let’s back up. Last summer during a stint in the hospital, he was told he was in stage 5 kidney failure and put on dialysis. The cause: diabetes. He started eating better and exercising and since then he’s lost over 60lbs, and controlled his blood pressure and diabetes.— Chance Horner (@chancehorner) February 19, 2019
To test, I had to lose some weight of my own. Your BMI must be below 30 to be a donor and mine… wasn’t. So, I lost the weight (took me a bit, but I did it) and then they wanted me to lose more. In all, I’ve lost 45lbs since the day he went in the hospital last summer. pic.twitter.com/oOKfot51eV— Chance Horner (@chancehorner) February 19, 2019
Horner pointed out in the Twitter thread that the both of them learned to treat their bodies better together, and to enjoy the small things in life.
It’s almost that time! Feeling good, feeling ready. pic.twitter.com/5vjmQIEo3K— Chance Horner (@chancehorner) February 19, 2019
They certainly looked happy going into the operating room.
We’re off and running! And by running I mean slowly shuffling down the hall. pic.twitter.com/iBnpJxjGJ3— Chance Horner (@chancehorner) February 20, 2019
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The transplant surgeon, Dr. Gregory McKenna, said, "the surgery actually went fantastic."
"Immediately after implantation, the urine was literally streaming several feet, there was so much force behind it," he continued. "That was a powerful kidney."
It seemed both Chance and his surgeon were having a ton of fun laughing about the situation. Now, both father and son (and the donated kidney, which they've taken to calling "Junior") are doing phenomenal in recovery.