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Dual transplant patient makes donation to Ronald McDonald House

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- After receiving a dual organ transplant at Mayo Clinic, a man from the Washington, D.C. area and his wife are showing their gratitude. The couple, Ronald and Joanna High, made a donation to the Ronald McDonald house Friday morning.

They have been staying in Rochester since early October, 2019. Ronald had been waiting for, received, and is now recovering from a dual heart and liver transplant.

"The heart conditions is called Amyloidosis," said Ronald. "It's a protein that the liver produces that effects different organs in the body, and when it did, it effected my heart."

The process had him at Mayo Clinic Saint Marys for more than two months.

"Every time I would hear a helicopter or an ambulance, I would think it was my husband," said Joanna. "So there were nights that were restless and sleepless during that time."

Then the day before Thanksgiving, Ronald got word that his new organs were on the way.

"I think my whole system kind of shut down," said Ronald. "And then they say try and get some rest which is absolutely impossible. So around 2:45 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, they got me said 'alright we're taking you for surgery'."

Now forever grateful, Joanna and Ronald wanted to give back. Where to give, was an easy choice.

"When I would go see my husband, I would catch the shuttle -- that was my only means of transportation at the time," said Joanna. "So we would often pass here at the Ronald McDonald house. What we decided to do was outreach here and to bless the people, bless the children and families here at Ronald McDonald House to pay it forward."

The couple donated several items from the House's needs list, including pantry items, cleaning products, and clothing for the kids.

"It says a lot to action and compassion of love to pay it forward," said Joanna. "My husband received a gift and we are grateful for the family who allowed their child to donate this gift. And so as a result, we are saying thank you."

Ronald now celebrates two "birthdays"; October 12th and November 28th, the day he received his new heart and liver.

The Highs hope their story of paying it forward can help inspire other transplant families or anyone is general to do the same, no matter how big or small the gesture may be.

Sarah Gannon

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