ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Cholly Gilmer, a father of three and husband, got the call he’s been waiting for since 2018.

“They said ‘we got a kidney for you.’ I said ‘wait a minute. I got to go in the den and put it on speaker phone so my wife can hear it because I don’t think I heard you right,'” Cholly said.

He was born with a birth defect that prevented his kidneys from growing with the rest of his body. He got his first transplant in February of 1991 from his mother, which lasted over 20 years.

In 2018, the organ started to fail, and he was put on dialysis.

For four years, Cholly waited for a new kidney while he was placed on the transplant waiting list at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital until April when we got the call of a lifetime.

His new kidney comes from a 50-year-old woman from California. He said his high school friend donated a kidney to push his name to the top of the list.

“It was a very emotional moment…I been waiting for a long time, and a lot has been happening with this family, and I never expected it to happen like this,” Cholly said.

Through the ups and downs of life, the Gilmer family kept their strong hope and faith in God at the forefront of their journey.

The Gilmer family lost their baby girl Henleigh around the time Cholly got the call from health officials about the kidney.

“Every time I say a prayer, I thank God for the donor and what she did for me, and I thank my family for everything they have done and stuck by me and supported me. It’s a lot to go through,” he said.

Cholly called the new surgery his “miracle” transplant. He said it was a gift from his daughter Henleigh from heaven.

He said immediately after the surgery, he felt better than he has in four years.

“I remember coming out of surgery…I just had this big smile on my face, and it was instant. I felt so alive. So much energy I haven’t felt in four years,” he said.

Since the transplant, Cholly is full of energy and doing everyday tasks like yard work and enjoying food he could eat when he was on dialysis.

He said his future plans are to keep enjoying time with his family. When he is fully recovered from the surgery, he wants to take a trip to Carowinds in Charlotte and ride plenty of roller-coasters.

He also thanked everyone who stood by the entire family’s side during their journey.