NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn family has an extra reason to celebrate this Father’s Day.
Wilbert Gibson, the father of an NBA star, will be spending the weekend at home after a life-saving heart transplant.
“I automatically know how I’m gonna feel when I walk out these doors. I’m gonna feel so proud,” Gibson said.
Three months ago, a simple checkup revealed he was on the brink of death. A rare disorder immediately put him on the heart transplant list. He hasn’t left the hospital since.
“The doctors constantly telling me ‘Mr. Gibson we’re gonna get you a heart.’”
Through it all his family has been by his side, day and night. That includes his son, NBA player Taj Gibson.
“My mom gave me a phone call that my dad needs a heart transplant,” the Minnesota Timberwolves forward said.
“My dad is the strongest man I’ve known growing up, so for him to be in this part of his life and need a heart it was a traumatic situation.”
Fewer than 200,000 cases of Amyloidosis are diagnosed, but the number of people effected is reportedly much higher.
“Three to four percent of African Americans carry this mutated gene and are at risk of developing this disease. It’s felt to be an ‘orphan disease’ but it’s far from being an orphan,” Dr. Donna Mancini, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital explained.
That means more than one million people may be effected by this disorder and don’t even realize it.
“Encourage the wives to make their husbands go to the doctor even if they don’t want to, because no woman wants to become a widow,” Sharon Gibson, Wilbert’s wife said.
Wilbert got his new heart two weeks ago. His body and his new heart are beating strong.
“I’ve been trying to get a feel for it in the last two weeks. It hasn’t told me anything yet, but it’s shown me it’s willing to work with my body,” the transplant recipient said.
“What’s this weekend going to be like?” CBS2’s Steve Overmyer asked.
“A celebration! Everything up here! I’ll just be happy to be home,” Gibson said.
For this family, the greatest Father’s Day gift is life.