Family can be created in many ways. In the case of the Herringtons and the Grangers, they have become a family through organ donation.
In 2004, Bryan Herrington, 35, died after falling off a roof. Because he was an organ donor, Jeff Granger received Bryan’s pancreas and kidney. After the transplant, Granger and his wife Pam began talking with Bryan’s wife and her sons, Drake and Payton. That turned into a relationship that has been ongoing for the past 16 years, including chats on social media and in-person visits.
“Just hearing from them, and how much their life had changed, was a healing process for me and my boys in and of itself,” Terri said.
In January 2019, Jeff learned that his donated kidney was started to fail and that he would need another transplant. He was shocked when Terri offered to donate hers, but she was not kidding about donating her kidney to him.
“Jeff will still have Bryan’s pancreas,” Terri said. “In a way, we’d be back together again.”
After testing Terri’s kidney, the doctors concluded that the two were a perfect match. The surgery was in March at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, and both Terri and Jeff have recovered.
Now, with Terri’s kidney and Bryan’s pancreas, Jeff has become a part of an unusual but life-saving family unit. Terri said it best:
“We aren’t organ donor and transplant recipient. Through this connection, we’ve become family.”