Man’s surprise ‘act of love’ gives friend new life

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(CNN) — It’s not every day that you can say you gave a gift that saved someone’s life.

But in a remarkable display of friendship, that’s what Graham McMillan did when he donated a kidney to his close friend Danny Kolzow.

Kolzow, a nurse working in the Fort Worth, Texas, area, has a genetic condition which hinders kidney function. As his condition continued to worsen, he was faced with the need for a kidney transplant and began waiting for a potential match.

Over a late night dinner, Kolzow told McMillan and his wife, Claire McMillan, that he was looking for a donor.

When McMillan, a youth pastor, found out that he was a match with Kolzow, he agreed to donate one of his kidneys without hesitation.

“It was a whirlwind. Sometime that week Graham just signed up (to donate) and he didn’t tell me,” Claire McMillan said. “He didn’t tell his wife, which was hilarious.”

In a video published online, Graham McMillan can be seen surprising Kolzow at the hospital where he works. Carrying yellow balloons and a handmade sign, McMillan breaks the news to his friend as the two embrace.

The two men met when they were classmates at Texas Christian University. After graduation, they remained close, both staying in the Fort Worth area, according to McMillan’s wife.

“I love Danny to death and he’s an easy person to give to,” McMillan said. “God called on me to do this and to proclaim his name and hopefully that’s what’s seen by most.”

The two underwent surgery Wednesday and are at home and recovering well. Both have said that they hope their story can help spread a strong message about faith and friendship. McMillan said that Kolzow texted him a few days after the surgery to say his kidney function was at 1.13, a rate that’s better than average.

But for now, Kolzow and McMillan have an even greater bond that transcends the bounds of biology.

“What an amazing act of love that Graham is doing in offering me an organ from his own body so that I can continue on in this life,” Kolzow said before the surgery in a thank-you video posted online. “It was some great news. You could see the joy on my face.”

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