DECKERVILLE, Mich. – A man gave his 74-year-old grandmother an early Christmas present this year when he donated more than half of his liver to her.
Patricia Middleton, a retired school bus driver, had been battling a chronic liver disease for a quarter-century. In August, she was told she would need a transplant.
Several family members stepped forward as possible donors, and at least four of them were good matches. Grandson Chad McMaster, 29, was the best prospect of all.
"It was a perfect match. It was unbelievable," she said. "I said, 'Chad, are you sure you want to do this?"'
McMaster, who co-owns a trucking company with his father, agreed to the donation. On Dec. 3, both underwent surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and his grandmother got about 55 percent of his liver.
"She got one heck of a Christmas present, didn't she?" he said, punctuating the question with a laugh.
His grandmother agreed, choking back tears when she said: "I cry a lot. How often do you see this? A grandson and a grandmother? How often?"
Middleton, who lives in Fort Gratiot, is recuperating at her oldest daughter's home in Deckerville, about 80 miles northeast of Detroit. McMaster expects to spend much of the winter recuperating, as well.