By Laura Gibbs
MACHESNEY PARK/PECATONICA - Finding the perfect match means accepting that the right person may never come along. But for one Rockford area family the right donor is not only a perfect match, but a testament of brotherly love. The two underwent a first in the medical world.
It's called the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System and now the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago completed the world's first minimally invasive liver resection. This is basically bonding two brothers in a very unique way.
Gary Tongue needed a living donor. Gary tells 13 News, "One day he showed up and wanted to know about the live donor transplant thing."
"He" is Charles Tongue, Gary Tongue's half-brother. Gary had liver cancer which to him was a death sentence until both families started exploring.
Charles says, "You have to be pretty much a perfect match. Weight, height, everything has to be about right."
With the most important match being blood-type. Dr. Enrico Benedetti completed the procedure by taking 60% of Charles' liver to replace the diseased liver in Gary. Doctors ended up finding five tumors saying it was worse then they thought.
Gary states, "It was rough for awhile. It's one heck of a surgery to go through, but I think it's all going to worth it."
Both came home last week and continue to recover together.
Charles states, "It's a big weight off his shoulders that you know he's got it and things are working good and I know he's going to live now."
Gary continues on by saying "You really have to love someone to do what he did. By giving me a piece of that. It saved my life is what he did."
Charles completed a little pre-surgery training to ensure his liver was in excellent condition. He lost 22 pounds in four months.