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Mother and son celebrate 30 years since historic kidney donation

KENS-TV San Antonio logo KENS-TV San Antonio 10/23/2018 Adi Guajardo

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Newspaper clippings tell the story of a brave mother dedicated to keeping her son alive, taking on two life-threatening surgeries, including one with her baby in the womb.

"They did surgery on Mitchell before he was born," Susan Garrison said. "He had a zero percent chance of survival and would not live through the pregnancy if we did not do the experimental surgery.”

And just a few years later, without hesitation, she would find herself giving a piece of her life to save her son a second time.

"They did tell us that it was highly probable that one or both of us wouldn't live through the surgery, she said. “We did have a priest come in and give us last rights.”

Her son, Mitchell Myers, was only three at the time. He was the youngest recipient in 1988 to receive a kidney transplant and the third child to undergo the surgery that year at University Hospital.

"It was very scary for me sometimes I wondered if I made the right choice, because he was the one going through all the pain, but he's alive today,” Garrison said.

30 years later, they’re celebrating.

"Back in 1988, they told us it would be a miracle if we made it 20 years, and we were so honored to have made it 30 years that we wanted to celebrate,” she said.

They also wanted to thank hospital staff for providing patients support and care. Since the transplant Garrison and her son are on a mission, informing the community about living organ donors by working with several organizations over the years to spread awareness.

"The living donors literally pull them out of that waiting line where they would have to wait six plus years, in some parts of the country it's up to ten years," University Hospital doctor and Living Organ Donor Director Elizabeth Thomas said. "They may not make it to transplantation.

Myers, who was named after one of his surgeons, is living proof of more than a miracle -- it's unconditional love.

“For someone to not only be your parent, but to also go to lengths like that to save your life, that's bond you can’t break,” he said. He's now 33 years old and healthy. He’s dedicating his life to helping kids with special needs and encouraging people to donate organs to save lives.

"It's okay to kinda be unsure, it's okay to kinda be scared going into this,” he said. “We were, I was, but you can live a normal life.”

If you would like to learn more about becoming a living organ donor or to become a donor visit the Donate Life registry website: RegisterMe.org

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