Fred Nelis, 60, of Holland, and Gordon Veldman, 67, of Pentwater, underwent transplant surgeries simultaneously. The two men had a common donor and their surgeries took place at the same time, in the same place.
Nelis, a swimmer, was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, a progressive heart disease with an unknown cause. Veldman was suffering from emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Veldman said, "Because someone said 'yes' " to becoming an organ donor, "I've got a future. It's as simple as that."
Since their transplants, both men are doing well. Veldman has recovered 96 percent of his lung capacity, and Nelis is swimming four days a week.
"We feel very strongly about the importance of those internal organs and how they support us in our endeavors," Veldman said. "Without them we are has-beens. Memories."