CLEVELAND - A Cleveland area family is encouraging others to consider organ donation after Patrice Horton donated one of her kidneys to her father, John O. Horton Jr.
NewsChannel5 met with the Hortons this afternoon at the Cleveland Clinic where the transplant operation was performed two months ago.
"I'm one lucky man, I sat there and I cried." said Horton, sitting next to his daughter. "I found out she was a match and I cried. I didn't tell her, but I sat at home and I cried."
"It was the best thing I've ever done ever -- ever in my life," Patrice said. "Actually seeing someone's life extended because of my selflessness is the most rewarding thing."
The Hortons invited NewsChannel5 to tell their story in an effort to raise awareness about men's and minority health issues, organ donation and the importance of father-daughter relationships.
To that end, Patrice Horton is filming a documentary detailing her family's experience and involving other fathers and daughters ranging from celebrities to athletes to regular, everyday Americans. The working title for the project is; A Daughter's First Love.
"Organ donation is most important," Patrice Horton said. "Be a donor. Answer the call. Say yes."
"Donate, donate, donate," interjected her father. "Save someone's life."
Charles Modlin, M.D. is the Cleveland Clinic Urologist who performed the Horton's kidney transplant. He says their message is especially relevant to minority populations.
"African Americans - nationally, the statistics show, wait two to four times as long on the waiting list to receive a kidney transplant," said Modlin.
Dr. Modlin and the Hortons also urged people to take steps to prevent kidney disease.
"If you're feeling bad, take your butt to the doctor," said John Horton.
"If we can manage diabetes and hypertension in patients in the community we can actually prevent the onset of kidney disease," Modlin said.
Ways to volunteer to be an organ donor include; registering at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles when renewing your driver's license, creating a living will, or by contacting Lifebanc - a federally-designated organ procurement organization.
Patrice Horton also invites contact on the issue of organ donation through her Twitter account: @ceotuffluv.
For more information on kidney donation and transplant issues - including potential conflicts of interest for health care providers, click this link to the Living Kidney Donors Network.