FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A lot of surgeries were put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, but now many of them are getting back on track.
In New Jersey, one son helped give the gift of life to his own dad.
Sitting in his own pizzeria, Jimmy Missiris enjoyed a fresh slice with his surgeon and his son, the two men who saved him.
For the past few months, the longtime owner of Linwood Pizza in Fort Lee was not only struggling to keep his business alive, the 64-year-old was fighting to survive himself.
“It was difficult,” Missiris told CBS2’s Jessica Layton. “I tried to balance everything as much as I could.”
In need of a kidney transplant, his oldest child, Ross, turned out to be a perfect match.
“I was very happy and grateful that I did have a match, but on the other hand, I felt guilty. I didn’t want to put my son through that,” Jimmy Missiris said.
“I reassured them that I never thought twice about it, I wasn’t scared about it. They would do this for me, I would do it for anyone in the family,” Ross Missiris said.
But as the coronavirus pandemic hit, hospitals were forced to put surgeries on hold. Jimmy’s transplant was one of them. It was pushed back more than a month.
“The surgery getting delayed was probably the worst part of it, but we held it together,” Ross Missiris said.
Thanks in part to the support of Dr. Michael Goldstein, of Hackensack University Medical Center.
“We had to put our transplant waiting list on hold for a short period of time just to make sure that it was safe to actually transplant people in this area,” Goldstein said.
For the Missiris family, that time came right around Father’s Day.
“It’s an indescribable feeling of being able to save someone’s life, never mind it being your father,” Ross Missiris said.
“I owe him. He tells me, too, that I owe him,” Jimmy Missiris said, laughing.
On the mend, he is anxious to get back to working in the restaurant, but that won’t be for another three months — doctor’s orders.
“Jimmy needs to be extra cautious because of his immuno-suppressed state,” Goldstein said. “I think most importantly he needs to enjoy the gift that he received.”
His selfless son will see to it. After all, it was his gift to give.
“I’m happy that it was me,” Ross Missiris said.
He’s making sure there are many more celebratory selfies and shared slices.