SAN ANTONIO – Paul Castellano and Paul Anthony Castellano are more than father and son -- they are kidney transplant partners.
The two are doing well after the transplant in August 2015.
Paul Anthony Castellano said he knew long before the surgery that he wanted to donate his kidney to his father.
"I wasn't going to change my mind," he said. "I knew when I was at a fireworks stand. I knew that God told me it was time."
Louisa Gonzales, who was Paul Anthony's nurse, remembers his desire to be his dad's donor.
"Paul Anthony was very adamant about giving the gift of life to his dad," Gonzales said. "He didn't quit. He didn't stop. He said, 'I want to be considered even if my dad's not ready.'"
Paul Anthony and his father ended up being a direct match.
"I didn't know he was the one that was going to give up his kidney," Paul Castellano said. "I thought I was waiting for someone else's kidney. It was really neat when I heard, and I really love him for that."
Dr. Gregory Abrahamian, chief of kidney transplant at the University Transplant Center, said "living kidney donation" is a fairly common procedure, but there's still a great need for living donors.
"There (are) about 96,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, and only 20,000 are performed a year," he said. "So, you can see the need far outweighs what's available."
Paul Castellano said he's grateful for the transplant, especially after all the hours he spent in dialysis.
"I know how it feels to go every day, to sit in the chair, get poked, get all that blood off of you and stay there for four hours," he said. "I tell whoever is out there to please donate."
March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation urges all Americans to give their kidneys a second thought and a well-deserved checkup.