A grandfather in Ohio celebrates the perfect gift - the gift of life.

Donor's gift enables him opportunity to be doting granddad

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017
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Healthcheck: organ donation: Ali Gorman reports on Action News at 5:30 p.m., December 26, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WPVI) -- For many people, waiting for an organ transplant can be excruciating. A man in Ohio was waiting for TWO organs.

He got them just in time. And his family is forever grateful to his donor.

"Take me home, country road,' sang an off-key Robert Fealy.

It's the happiest tune 60-year-old Robert Fealy has ever sung...

"I was in intensive care when I did that," Robert remarked.

Just days earlier Robert received a rare multi-organ transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

A genetic disease called Alpha One Antitrypson deficiency caused Robert's lungs and liver to fail.

"He received what we call a dual organ transplant. He received a double lung and a liver at the same time from the same donor and this is a very difficult transplant to do because you have to get the organs, again for the same donor," said Dr. Marie Budev of the Cleveland Clinic.

After a twelve hour operation, Robert woke up with new lungs and a liver, on a very special day.

"It was our 38th wedding anniversary. So you know the best gift that could have ever gotten from anyone was the gift of life from a donor," says Robert's wife Jeanne, with a broad smile.

Robert had spent last Christmas in the hospital.

He wasn't sure he'd live to see another.

But thanks to a priceless gift, he's singing a different tune this year- Christmas Carols with his grandkids.

"One of the most important things in his life was that he could be a grandfather and now he has that opportunity," continued Jeanne.

"To me, that's what it's all about. We're going over and watching the kids open their presents, I can't wait. I'll be like the biggest kid there," Robert said with a laugh.

Robert also recently underwent heart surgery. He is getting stronger every day.

There are more than one-hundred-thousand people waiting for life-saving organs.

If you'd like to learn more about donation, or become as donor, see the Gift of Life program or the national program.