Organ transplant comes full circle for families

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, July 11, 2014
Organ transplant comes full circle for families
Bill Millard is getting a kidney transplant from the mother of the teen who received his son's pancreas 10 years ago.

Nearly 10 years ago, one family lost their son. His pancreas went on to save the life of a young man. Today, those two families are about to give and get the gift of life.

The surgeons at California Pacific Medical Center have been doing transplants for years, but this is a first. Bill Millard desperately needs a kidney transplant after suffering from diabetes. He will get his life back this week from someone he helped years ago.

Nearly ten years ago, Millard's son, Kalem, suffered an accident. The Millards made the hard decision to donate his organs. His pancreas helped save the life of a then 19-year-old Petaluma boy named Jake MacKinnon.

Friday, Millard will receive a kidney from Jake's mother Janice. It turns out she was a compatible donor despite the probability being less than 50 percent.

The operation will take 2-3 hours.

"The donor usually goes in first and once the kidney goes out, the recipient is ready for the kidney to go in, so trying to minimize the time in between the donor-recipient surgery," Dr. Steven Katznelson said.

This managed to happen because both families have kept in touch. Once a year, the MacKinnons have a tree lighting ceremony to honor the Millards and their son. They will now have another reason to be even closer as families.