ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Before midnight tonight 18 people will have died -- waiting for an organ transplant here in the U.S. Worldwide there are more than 113,000 people waiting for a transplant.
One man in Rochester is counting his blessings -- he got his heart and kidney transplants a few weeks ago.
In 2007 Dave Costello was having problems breathing -- he went to see his family doctor. He had a few tests done and everything seemed to be fine until more results started to flow in and that's when Dave's life took a major turn.
"I got a call from my doctor saying you have a life-threatening disease that's going to shorten your life significantly and this is called amliosis and we're going to send you down to Mayo," Costello said.
For the next four and a half years Dave and his wife Audrey would make countless visits from their home in Burnsville to the world famous Mayo Clinic -- a journey that proved to be full of bumps.
"We spent Christmas at Saint Marys," Costello said.
At one point it took such a toll on Dave that he was confined to a wheelchair.
"They would have to put the kids on my lap because I wasn't strong enough," Costello said.
Then, while Dave and Audrey were out celebrating Valentine's Day, the phone rang and everything changed.
"She says what are you doing this evening, we have a heart and a kidney," Costello said.
Before Dave even had time to process his joy, another thought ran through his mind.
"I struggled with the fact that somebody had to die for me to live," Costello said.
It wasn't until after the surgery that they could really rejoice.
"We were in the hospital in recovery and all of the sudden I looked at my wife and she looked at me and said you don't have your old heart anymore," Costello said.
It's been 50 days after two successful transplants.
"I'm every bit as good as I was 15 years ago," Costello said.
Dave and Audrey spend their days at the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester healing -- their home away from home.
"I can now pick up my 1 and 3 year old granddaughters," Costello said.
They may be able to go home, in another month and a half.
If you're considering registering on your driver's license as an organ donor, keep this in mind: one person can save and heal up to 60 lives!
Costello says he plans to send his donor's family a letter to express how deeply grateful he is.
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