Organ Donation Comes Full Circle as Family Pays It Forward

The mother of man who received pancreas transplant repays favor 10 years later.

— -- When the Millard family lost their son, his pancreas was donated to a 19-year-old boy, Jake MacKinnon. Friday, the MacKinnon family will return the favor.

After Kalem Millard’s fatal accident, his parents made the difficult decision to donate his pancreas, which ultimately saved the life of Jake MacKinnon.

Nearly 10 years later, Bill Millard, Kalem’s father, was in desperate need of a kidney transplant after suffering from diabetes.

“This year I was really sick, I could barely walk,” Bill Millard told ABC station affiliate KGO-TV in San Francisco.

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Jake MacKinnon’s mother, Janice MacKinnon, will donate her kidney to Bill Millard Friday at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Generally, "the chance of compatibility is less than fifty percent,” said Dr. Steven Katznelson, making it wonderful news that Janice MacKinnon was a match.

The operation will take two to three hours, with Janice MacKinnon going in first and Bill Millard soon after.

"The donor usually goes in first and once the kidney comes out, the recipient is ready for the kidney to go in, so we try to minimize the time in between donor-recipient surgeries," Katznelson said.

Bill Millard is thankful to Janice MacKinnon for giving him a chance at a better life.

“Having to hook up to my machine every night, to depend on a machine to keep me alive, that’s the hardest thing,” he said, “and the thing that I won’t miss.”