Finding Friendship In Hardship: Kidney Transplant Patients Form Bond (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www-incnow.tv) --- An uplifting story about two men whose lives crossed paths through a shared battle with a life-threatening ailment.

Four months ago, Garyon McKee and Mirth Laster didn't know each other.

Now the Fort Wayne men have a unique bond grounded in faith and personal experience.

The 78 year-old McKee has a new lease on life.

The kidney transplant patient tells his doctor at Lutheran Hospital, where he went through the surgery, that his recovery is going smoothly.

One room over, the report is much the same for Mirth Laster.

He, too, is feeling like a new man with a new kidney.

He spent 3 years on a waiting list, enduring painstaking dialysis treatments.

"Dialysis in itself is a miracle to me, however, I didn't know actually how sick I was until after my transplant,” said Laster, who is 69 years old.

For McKee, the dialysis lasted four years.

"Most of the time you come out of there, you would basically have to go home and go to bed. Because it really just knocks you down," McKee said.

Whatever discouragement might have been setting in was swept away back in November on the same day for both men.

Mirth Laster says in a prayer he made a deal with God-- no more requests for his own health problems.

"I'm going to start praying for everybody else in the shape that I'm in. And that's what I did. Actually, it was a miracle; the phone rang exactly the same time I said that. They said we have a kidney for you.”

As it turns out, not just one for Laster, one also for McKee.

"I got another chance. It's, it's amazing to get another chance," said McKee.

Before the operations, they were strangers.

Now they come to check-ups together, and have formed a friendship that even involves a little teasing.

"If I go in first, maybe to get blood work done, he's kind enough to tell them to stick me twice or something like that. So, he's looking out for me," McKee said, with a chuckle.

They say misery loves company.

Maybe healing does, too.

The life changing operation is very expensive.

Garyon McKee says the bills for his anti-rejection drugs are a huge ongoing expense.

But there’s no disputing that they are healthier, and each now has another name in the "friend" column.

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