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ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – A relationship between father and son can be a bond like no other.

And for Nathan and John Howe, that bond is now even stronger after a life-saving surgery.

“I’m up and about, no pain really doing most of my regular daily activities,” said father John Howe, who is 76 years old.

For 12 years, John Howe had been living with polycystic kidney disease, which caused his kidneys to double in size and lose function.

“The normal size kidney, like yours and mine is like the size of a fist, about 150 grams. This one is about 20 centimeters or like 12 pounds, and that’s just one size,” said Dr. Alvin Wee of the Cleveland Clinic.

Howe began dialysis three years ago as he waited for a new kidney. And even with two sons, he refused to allow them to be tested to see if they were a viable match.

“I was very much against a living donor because I didn’t want put anybody, and least of all my sons, through surgery and the loss of a kidney,” he said.

But his son Nathan didn’t listen, going through the entire process without telling his dad. He kept it a secret until the confirmation was made just before Christmas.

“It seemed like an opportunity to be able to offer something that I had and am just really grateful that it worked,” said Nathan.

So on February 20, right before COVID-19 halted all surgeries, both men were admitted to the Cleveland Clinic for the transplant surgery.

It was a success, and this Father’s Day takes on new meaning: the importance of organ donation.

“I would just encourage anyone who has the opportunity, who’s in good health to be able to, whether for a family member or a friend, or even anonymously to consider the opportunity to give,” said Nathan.

To read more about organ donation, click here.