Jason Pennington and Jim Romano have a bond deeper than friendship.
The two friends, both now 34, met in sixth grade at a West Palm Beach school and have remained close.
On Sept. 29, Pennington donated a kidney to Romano in an operation at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The surgery was successful and now Romano has a working kidney, the hospital said in an email statement.
"Jim never asked me to be a donor, but I knew it something I wanted to do," said Pennington in the statement. "I know he'd do it for me in a heartbeat."
Romano was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease seven years ago. It is a genetic disorder where cysts grow in the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure. His health grew worse over the years and it was necessary for him to either undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
None of his family members were a match to donate a kidney. But Pennington offered and he was a match.
Pennington, a West Palm Beach radio morning show host, is now an organ donation advocate. Singer Billy Joel is his favorite entertainer and when he heard about the transplant, he sent an autographed copy of the album "The Stranger."