Chatham Man Saved by NFL Star's Organ Donation

Reporter: Sarah Bloom

Chatham, VA - A Chatham man has so much to be thankful for this holiday weekend, after receiving a donation that saved his life.

Tom Elliott spent nearly a decade fighting lung problems. Eventually, doctors said he would die without a transplant. He got that transplant, but from a very unlikely source.

"They said now this is a prominent person, and you will recognize the name," said Elliot.

The lungs Elliott received belonged to former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry. He died tragically in an accident two years ago. Elliott's surgeon said Henry gave him something exceptional.

"These lungs were the best functioning adult lungs that he had seen in nine years," said Elliot.

For years, he relied on a breathing machine just to get by. But not anymore, thanks to Henry and thanks to his mother, Carolyn Glaspy.

"She's so nice, and she's the one to make the decision to donate his organs. And I think she's a heck of a woman," said Elliot.

The two met earlier this month along with three other people Henry's organs saved.

"She said this is her closure, and she cried the whole time," said Elliot.

Elliott says he's never been a big football fan. But he might be one of the biggest fans of the football player who saved his life.

"I'm very familiar with him and some of his career. He was a really good football player," said Elliot.

He's now known as an exceptional football player with an exceptional legacy - a man who saved four lives.

Elliott says he shared his story in hopes it will encourage someone else to donate organs and save lives, too.