A Madison police lieutenant gives his 22-year-old son “the greatest gift of life” through a kidney transplant

A Madison police lieutenant gives his 22-year-old son “the greatest gift of life” through a kidney transplant

A Madison police lieutenant gives his 22-year-old son “the greatest gift of life” through a kidney transplant

REIDSVILLE, NC (WGHP) — Last summer, Gabriel Patterson, 22, of Reidsville, discovered he had total kidney failure and the wait for a new kidney could have been up to 10 years.

“My biggest mistake was not getting annual physicals in college… If I had gotten physicals more often, this probably would have been caught earlier, so I’m asking everyone to make sure they’re taking care of their health and getting those physicals,” Gabriel said.

But last week, Gabriel received a kidney transplant and is now recovering. His hero donor was his father, Bryan Patterson, a lieutenant with the Madison Police Department.

“There will always be a part of him inside me for the rest of my life. There is nothing that can separate us,” Gabriel said.

The two are recovering from surgery together, which has proven to be a profound experience for the now inseparable father and son.

“I see the difficulties we are both going through right now and that makes the sacrifice that much more meaningful,” Gabriel said.

Bryan said, “Just being able to see how her quality of life instantly changed made every little bit of pain worth it.”

Gabriel was just days away from starting his first job after graduating from App State when he went to urgent care to get some stomach issues checked out.

“They drew my blood and basically told me, ‘Your kidneys are completely failing. You need to go to the emergency room right now,’” Gabriel said.

He was immediately put on dialysis and told he would have to wait 7 to 10 years until a deceased donor could receive a new kidney.

“At 22, life was just beginning. I had just started my dream job, and if I had to wait seven to 10 years, I could make it to 30. I was recognizing that a lot of things in my life could be gone,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel said he didn’t expect anyone to come forward as a living donor, but his father and an aunt were tested and both found out they were compatible. Doctors determined his father would be the best match and began planning.

“I just made sure I kept my health up to prepare for the surgery and try to give him the best I can give him so he can move forward for the rest of his life,” Bryan said.

The surgery meant Bryan would have to wait six months before he could return to full duty at the police department.

“The hardest blow was knowing that my team is out there without me and I can’t lead them right now, just keep them strong and tell them I’ll be back,” Bryan said.

Gabriel will be returning remotely to his dream job on Monday.

“I actually work for a state congresswoman and they have been very, very good to me throughout the entire process,” Gabriel said.

This unexpected obstacle put life on hold, but now they are getting back on track.

“It makes me feel humble. It makes me realize that I was given the greatest gift in life and it’s best not to waste it,” Gabriel said.

Bryan said: “We hope our darkest days are behind us, so all we have to do now is heal and get back to living a normal life for both of us.”

Both men would like to thank the entire community for their support. Both men attend regular medical check-ups, but so far, everything seems to be going well.