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Cleveland man donates organs to multiple people, in life and in death

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 09:43:01-05

CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man continues to be selfless, even in death.

Years before Tom Mellinger died of a heart attack, he donated a kidney to his father-in-law.

“Very selfless person,” said Kate Mellinger. “My father had a kidney disease back in 1999. He was getting ready to go on dialysis. My husband and I at the time had a 1-year-old daughter - we’d only been married two years. He stepped up and said, ‘I’ll get tested, I’ll do the tissue test,’ and he matched. And he donated to my dad.”

Through word of mouth, Melissa Hughes learned of Tom Mellinger's passing.

Just days later, she received Mellinger’s other kidney.

Hughes had endured six months of dialysis, twice a week for three hours each time.

“My coworker, her niece knows Kate’s oldest daughter,” said Hughes. “The child kept repeating that Missy needs a kidney. It was 100 percent God’s will. Thank you doesn’t feel like enough for what he did. I have no food restrictions; my labs are 100 percent improved.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Mellinger's lungs and liver were also harvested and donated.