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Soldier flies home from Afghanistan to give his ailing grandfather part of his liver

"I don’t want to look back and say, 'Hey, I could have done something,'" U.S. Army Specialist Ricky Glenn Henderson said.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM  |  Updated March 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM   |   Comments

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March 29 (UPI) -- At age 62, and after 16 years in the U.S. army and a four year stint as a Marine, Rick Homer is nearing death at his home in Longview, Texas.

The Vietnam veteran has a failing liver.

"I found out about it a little over three years ago," Homer told local news station KLTV. "I have hemochromatosis, which is genetic. The liver doesn't purify the blood like it supposed to. The only time I've got left is what the good Lord gives me."

But Homer has a hero flying to his rescue, literally. Earlier this week, Homer's grandson, U.S. Army Specialist Ricky Glenn Henderson, flew back from Afghanistan intent on donating 60 percent of his liver to his ailing grandfather.

The 21-year-old is currently at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas undergoing a series of medical tests to ensure that his liver is a safe match for Homer.

"I don’t want to look back and say, 'Hey, I could have done something,'" Henderson told ABC News.

Homer tried to talk his grandson out of it, as did a few doctors, but Henderson told them his mind was made up. He wants his grandfather to be around for a while longer, he says -- for a few more life milestones and a fishing trip or two.

Dr. Giulino Testa, the head of liver transplants at Baylor, told ABC he found an abnormality in Henderson’s platelet count that requires further investigation. So before the final heroics, the young Afghanistan vet will be subject to a few more tests.

Although it sounds like a complicated situation, it's rather simple for Homer.

"If I don’t get the liver transplant, I die," Homer told ABC.


[KCTV]
[ABC News]

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