Updated: Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013, 2:19 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013, 2:19 PM EST
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKYC) - Two Ohio men thought they were close to taking their last breath, but thanks to one generous donor, now they're both breathing easy.
Being able to sing is truly a gift for Joe Gammalo.
For ten years he battled pulmonary fibrosis until it almost took his breath away.
"I said goodbye to my kids I was in a wheelchair and I was on oxygen full time I upgraded my will and I bought a cemetery plot," he says.
The only cure was a lung transplant.
Meanwhile, another man was facing a similar fate.
"They did not know what type of disease it was. They took a biopsy and realized there was no medication available and the only option I would have would be the lung transplant," says Clyde Conn.
Both men were living on borrowed time.
"I was told I had 18 months to live without the lung," Conn says.
The Cleveland Clinic does more lung transplants than anywhere else in the country, but it's not easy to find a set that are usable, but finally the phone call that would save their lives came.
Two strangers went into surgery, but came out connected, sharing a set of lungs from one donor.
Clyde got the right lung, Joe got the left.
A week later they met in intensive care.
That was four years ago.
The men developed a friendship tied together by life.