July 08, 2019 11:36 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Two months after receiving a life-saving organ transplant, ABC 6 News Chief Photographer Chad Corey says his life is good and filled with so much hope all thanks to fellow photographer and friend, Chris Douglas.
Every photographer knows, behind a great photo, is a story.
This is the story about Chad and Chris. Two photographers who met on the sidelines shooting local sports, now sitting side by side in hospital gowns, anxiously ready for the big day.
"I'm really anxious to see him, especially tomorrow," said Douglas.
After months of waiting for a donor match, Chad finally got the life-changing call. All of the testing, waiting, poking and prodding led up to this moment: April 29th, surgery day.
"I can't even begin to describe how much it is, I mean what can I say, it's amazing," said Corey.
ABC 6 News was given permission to use video and images from their organ transplant operation at Mayo Clinic.
"I am just really amped-up right now," said Douglas as was being wheeled out to surgery. "Alright, let's do this."
Chris had his surgery first, donating his kidney to Chad.
"There's hope that there are people that are willing and can help change your life," said Corey. "Coming out of it, you're kind of lost for a little bit, but then you come to, and everything is more normal and I could feel that there was new organ inside of me."
A new organ and a new lifelong friend.
"I don't think I'd ever seen pink in your cheeks before," said Douglas. "In the years that I've known him, seeing him on the sidelines, seeing the gray ashen look gone and seeing pink in his cheeks, that for me made it all worth it."
The two up and walking just 24 hours after surgery. "The real neat part was that evening, when Chad was able to walk into my room and see me, because I had tried earlier to go see him and I passed out and then this smart aleck comes rolling in about an hour later," laughed Douglas, recalling the first night after surgery.
So, what was one of the first things Chad was looking forward to doing?
"Pee," laughed Corey. "Honestly it was great, I honestly thought I was going to cry," he added. He says since surgery, he has had his diet back and can eat pretty much anything he wants.
Chad and Chris are both back to work full time, but Chad says he knows how long it's taken to get to this point.
"You wanna make sure you make better decisions, you want to keep the kidney as long as you can, you want to treat it like a baby in a sense, because it took a lot to get," said Corey.
The two keep in touch regularly, spending an afternoon together laughing and sharing the stories of their battle scars. We were lucky to capture one more photo, this time showing two healthy photographers and their beautiful story.
If you would like more information on becoming an organ donor click here.