UPDATE: Man from "Kidney for Grandpa" billboards out of surgery - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Man from "Kidney for Grandpa" billboards out of surgery

Posted:

FOX28's Melanie Yuill is in Indianapolis for Friday's surgery. She'll be updating this story throughout the day and also on Twitter.

Jerry Graf's family has been waiting for this day for years.  Graf's kidney has been failing for over eight years and he's been on the transplant list for over two.  Back in January, the family spent thousands of dollars to put up billboards to try and find Graf a new kidney.  FOX28 was the first to tell you about the billboards that featured Graf's one year old granddaughter, Adelynn, and the message, "Please donate the kidney that will save my grandpa's life." 

Friday, Graf got his new kidney.  Early Friday, morning Graf and his living donor, Amy Pitrowski, showed up at IU Health University Hospital to undergo surgery to transplant her kidney to his body.  Around 8 a.m., Pitrowski was taken into surgery and just after 10 a.m. Graf was taken to the operating room for his surgery.  Around noon, Pitrowski's kidney was out and taken to Graf.  At 1:30 p.m., the surgeon who operated on Graf was talking to his family.  He told them the surgery was complete and it went "smooth," there were "no problems."  As of 2:35 p.m. the family was waiting to be allowed to see Graf.  After hearing that the surgery went well the Graf's wife, daughter, and sister all embraced and cried.  They also hugged and cried with Pitrowski's partner.

The family was finally allowed to see Graf just before 5 p.m.  They cried, held his hand, and told him, "you did great."  After seeing Graf his wife, Diane, told us, "you can't imagine the joy in my heart."  She and the rest of the family are very grateful that Graf is getting a second chance at life.  His wife said she hopes now he'll be around to see his granddaughter get married.

Before surgery, Graf hugged his family goodbye.  He told FOX28 that he was nervous and a little scared for the unknown that's ahead.  But he added that he is ready for this surgery.  He's happy that the new kidney will give him more time with his granddaughter Adelynn and told us that after surgery he's looking forward to eating butter pecan ice cream.

Pitrowski told us she was also a little nervous but also ready.  Before being taken to the operating room, she told FOX28 that she just wanted to get it started.  She said on Thursday she saw Graf watching cartoons with his granddaughter and she's giving her kidney so that he'll be able to do that with Adelynn many more times.

It's been an emotional roller coaster for the family and we've been following their story since they first put up the billboards a few months ago.  We talked to them about the overwhelming response the billboards brought in and their happiness after finding out Pitrowski would be donating her kidney to Graf.

Will have complete coverage from the day of the surgery on FOX28 on Monday April 22nd.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • SLIDESHOW: Back To School

    SLIDESHOW: Back To School

    It is time to head back to school for many area students. Many parents take pictures of their children on their first day and we asked our viewers to send them in. Our viewers did not disappoint. Here are the photos you have been sending in. You can send yours in to iFox28@fox28.comMore >>
    It is time to head back to school for many area students. Many parents take pictures of their children on their first day and we asked our viewers to send them in. Our viewers did not disappoint. Here are the photos you have been sending in. You can send yours in to iFox28@fox28.comMore >>
  • Storms cause scattered Indiana road flooding

    Storms cause scattered Indiana road flooding

    Thunderstorms dropping heavy rain in northern and central Indiana have snarled travel in some places with road flooding.More >>
    Thunderstorms dropping heavy rain in northern and central Indiana have snarled travel in some places with road flooding.More >>
  • Officials: 8,700 gallons of diesel fuel oil released into environment from Cook Nuclear Plant

    Officials: 8,700 gallons of diesel fuel oil released into environment from Cook Nuclear Plant

    D.C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant officials suspect 8,700 gallons of diesel fuel oil was released into the environment early Tuesday morning. In a notification to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, D.C. Cook reported a buried fuel oil storage tank for an Emergency Diesel Generator had 8,700 less gallons than it was measured at less than 24 hours prior. The suspected release was noticed shortly after 2:00am Friday morning.More >>
    D.C. Cook Nuclear Power Plant officials suspect 8,700 gallons of diesel fuel oil was released into the environment early Tuesday morning. In a notification to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, D.C. Cook reported a buried fuel oil storage tank for an Emergency Diesel Generator had 8,700 less gallons than it was measured at less than 24 hours prior. The suspected release was noticed shortly after 2:00am Friday morning.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.