"Miracle": Ohio man travels 2,000 miles to save a baby's life
A California couple celebrate the greatest gift they can imagine for Christmas - a healthy baby, thanks to the kindness of an organ donor who lives thousands of miles away.
Young parents Chad and Aileen Cooper met Michael Speck through Zoom, CBS News reports Chris Martinez during their first emotional meeting with the selfless stranger.
"There are no words that can describe how grateful we are to you, Michael, you saved our son's life," said Aileen Cooper on the video call.
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"It's an honor," said Speck to her.
Bacon had donated part of his liver to 10-month-old Jacob Cooper. Jacob was born with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and biliary tract that can be fatal.
"Your son is born with a problem and then someone shows up from all over the country you have never met to save his life," said dad Chad Cooper.
Dr. Yuri Genyk, who works at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital, where Jacob was operated on, said the baby needs a liver transplant to survive.
"He was getting increasingly sick," said Genyk. "He was hospitalized with an infection before the transplant, he was seriously ill."
Jacob's father immediately volunteered to be a donor, but tests gave his own diagnosis.
"On the CT scan and the MRI, we found a mass near your pelvis and it needs to be seen immediately," he recalled to the doctors who told him.
With Chad and Aileen Cooper, both unsuitable donors, doctors began looking for another living donor - which they found weeks later, nearly 2,000 miles away in Ohio.
The donor was 64-year-old Michael Speck.
Speck is both a father and a grandfather and has already been an organ donor after giving a kidney to a minister years earlier.
"The surgeon told me it was a tiny 10 month old baby," said Speck. "When I found out, I just burst into tears."
In October - in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic - Bacon traveled to Los Angeles for a transplant. It was a complete success.
Speck now hopes that others will follow suit.
“There are so many people out there who can do the same thing as I can,” he said.
Speck spoke to Chad and Aileen Cooper about Zoom and said, "It's a miracle to be able to donate to a child."
Aileen and Chad told Bacon that he was the miracle.
"It's worth seeing you all," he replied.
And in November, Jacob's father, Chad Cooper, had an operation to remove his mass, a benign tumor. Both he and his son are fine.
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