PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An Elvis impersonator from Pittston is on the road to recovery. Earlier in November, he received a life-changing transplant operation. Now, he wants to bring awareness to his story.
On November 2, Elvis Tribute Artist Jimmy Tighe received a kidney transplant. Now, he and his donors want to get back to living their lives to the fullest and help others become donor advocates.
“I can’t say enough, thank you so much you saved my life. We did it. We did it, buddy,” Tighe explained.
A feeling of gratitude was shared between Tighe and Kidney Donor Tina Belzer on Sunday, just ten days after undergoing long-awaited kidney transplant surgery.
“All I could say is that I feel excellent, better than I have felt in years,” Tighe said.
In August, Belzer saw a sign at Fino’s Pharmacy in Pittston of Tighe in search of a kidney donor. She decided she wanted to donate hers if she was a match. She was and is now recovering with her new best friend.
“Jimmy is healed. He can function properly and the sky is the limit for him. That’s all that really matters,” said Belzer.
Tighe was on dialysis for more than four years and experienced significant life changes during that time.
One that took him off the stage, belting out the king’s rock and roll hits.
“I want to do my shows. I want to go back to performing, putting other smiles on people’s faces, and telling them my story,” Tighe said.
A story that now includes the return of an ability many take for granted.
“The first time I went to the bathroom because I hadn’t gone in four years. I sat there and bawled my eyes out because it was special to me,” Tighe added.
The journey of getting to this point was long and seemed even unreachable.
“There were times where we said I don’t know if we could do this, but I said if it’s going to make him feel better whatever it took we did. You want to do as much as you could for that person especially if you love them,” said Tighe’s fiancee Paula Ferrara.
Belzer wants anyone looking to become a donor to know this.
“If you have the chance to be put on a list or have the chance to reach out then by all means it’s not difficult and you can change someone’s life,” Belzer said.
“The dream came true. I climbed that mountain and I grabbed that star,” Tighe explained.
Tighe, his family, and Belzer want to thank everyone who supported them. He hopes to be back on stage as soon as he is fully recovered.