FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – One-time strangers are now joined together for life.

And this Thanksgiving, Jon Seidl, Ken Cook and their families have plenty to be thankful for.

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“I haven’t felt this good in five years,” proclaimed Cook from his home in Mississippi.

Last month, a kidney transplant turned Cook’s life around. Jon Seidl of Frisco donated a kidney to Cook, who he had never met in person until just before the surgery.

“There’s never any doubt that this was worth it and that I wanted to do it, but it solidifies all of those feelings and all of those emotions,” said Seidl.

The families met in person the Monday before the surgery in Louisiana. They shared a meal together. And then the transplant happened on Wednesday.

Jon Seidl and Ken Cook (credit: Jon Seidl)

“Immediately after I woke up from the surgery, I had all kinds of energy. It felt like I had literally died and went to heaven,” explained Cook.

The five years of waiting and kidney dialysis treatments were over.

During that time, Cook had to have his legs amputated.

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After the surgery, he set his mind on the next goal.

“My next hurdle is to get my prosthetics going and get myself out of this wheelchair to where I can start walking,” said Cook.

During the interview, Cook’s wife revealed the kidney has a name.

“Jon is a part of Kenneth and we named our kidney, Kenneth’s kidney, Jon-Jon. So, that’s the new name of the kidney. And Jon-Jon is working,” said Deborah Cook.

Seidl knows the life-changing impact kidney donation can have on a family.

“Having been on Ken and Deborah’s side of things for a Thanksgiving where we were so thankful for a kidney that my step-dad received, I can still say, though, that I’m thankful this Thanksgiving to be a part of their story,” Seidl told us.

It’s a story that will continue to be written this Thanksgiving and beyond.

He told the Cooks, “I have learned from you guys what it looks like to be thankful. And what it looks like to have gratitude. That’s humbling. And something I’m going to keep and cherish and teach my kids, as well.”

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