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Dino Gianechini was suffering terribly. His legs were swollen, his energy low, and his spirits deflated ever since doctors had told him that dialysis or kidney transplantation were his only options.
"I wanted to help in any way that I could," said his son, Michael, 27, of Mars, Pennyslvania, who underwent testing to see if he could become a kidney donor for his dad. "The doctors said he would have a higher chance of success if he avoided dialysis and received a kidney transplant. I was engaged at the time and was praying that my father would be able to walk down the aisle at the wedding."
After four months of testing Michael was found to be a match. One week later, on February 19, 2008, Michael and his father were wheeled into surgery so that one of Michael's kidneys could be removed and transplanted into his dad.
Today, father and son are doing well and enjoying each other's company, whether it means spending the day fishing together or simply sitting down to a meal together.
On August 8, 2008, Michael's dream came true as his father walked down the aisle in his wedding.
"He did more than just walk down the aisle- he danced the night away with the bridesmaids," said Michael. "What is amazing about all of this is that I had the opportunity to give back life to someone who gave me life."
A few weeks before his wedding day, Michael and his fiancÃ© attended the National Kidney Foundation 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh, where they met other donors and recipients and saw firsthand the many people who have been helped by donations like the one Michael made. In addition, the two participated in the 5K race for donors and transplant recipients.
For complete photos and coverage of the Transplant Games click here.