HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Last weekend, a remarkable milestone was reached at Texas Children's Hospital that has one 17-year-old extremely grateful.
After being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, he was placed on the transplant waiting list. He finally received that organ on Sunday and now has a whole new outlook on life.
Growing up, Joseph Colson McCullough was an active child.
"I was able to do football, basketball, anything an 8-year-old kid could do," Joseph said.
But life changed for him after being diagnosed with a disease that affected his liver. Living with the disease and trying to maintain for years, it eventually caught up with him when he was just 16 years old.
"My body started to break down at that point," Joseph explained.
Surgical director of liver transplantation, Dr. John A. Goss said, "Joesph's disease entity is called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis that ended up causing him to have end stage liver disease, that was his need for liver transplantation."
It's an auto-immune disease where the body attacks its own bile duct.
"And ultimately if you don't get a transplant, you can end up with carcinoma, which could be life threatening," Dr. Goss said.
For a year, Joseph was on the organ transplant list.
"Waiting is always hard, because you never know what the next day can bring," Joseph told ABC13.
But last Sunday, that wait was over after receiving a new liver. At the same time, it was the 1500th transplant procedure Texas Children's had performed.
"That's fascinating, I can't believe it. That's unbelievable that I'm that number," Joseph said.
According to Dr. Goss, "Transplantation began at Texas Children's in 1984 with a pediatric heart transplant that was performed by Dr. Cooley. And since that time, liver, kidney and lung have been added."
Joseph encourages anyone who's thinking of being a donor, to just do it. It's been less than a week since the procedure, and Joseph is already looking forward to his future.
"I can't wait to play basketball again, I can't wait to have a full day of school again as crazy as that sounds," Joseph said.
Texas Children's Hospital celebrates 1500th transplant
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