LEE COUNTY, Fla. - We can all think of things to be thankful for this holiday season such as friends and family, and a big Thanksgiving meal. But one grandfather's story might just top them all. He received a special gift on Thanksgiving day.
A hospital isn't where most people want to spend their holiday. But this is exactly where Nasser Ahdoot wanted to be for two and a half years.
"This news was just unbelievable," he said. On Thanksgiving day, this grandfather received the most precious gift of all. The gift of life in the form of a kidney transplant.
"This is the best Thanksgiving I've ever had in my life. Not even on Thanksgiving, I will be thanking God every day," he said.
His surgery took place at Gulf Coast Medical Center, which has quite the reputation for kidney transplants. It's here that they maintain some of the shortest wait times for a kidney transplant across the U.S.: an average of 22 months. That brings people from across the world right here to southwest Florida.
Ahdoot is from Iran and moved to Los Angeles years ago.
The family doesn't know who the donor is, only, that it was a man in his 20's who suddenly lost his life. But through one family's pain, another family receives hope. "We have his kidney and we are very thankful, but I was really sad for them. It's a hard hard time, I know," said his wife Malihe Ahdoot.
"I want to thank Lee Memorial Health System," said his daughter Bita Santaella. "There is so much love and care."
Years of waiting has paid off. This will be a Thanksgiving his family will cherish forever.
It will take the grandfather about six to eight weeks to fully recover. He plans to stay in Fort Myers for a least a month to start rehabilitation, before flying home to see his grandchildren.