CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKYC) -Two Ohio men thought they were close to taking their last breath, but thanks to one generous donor, now they're both breathing easy.

Being able to sing is truly a gift for Joe Gammalo.

For ten years he battled pulmonary fibrosis until it almost took his breath away.

"I said goodbye to my kids I was in a wheelchair and I was on oxygen full time I upgraded my will and I bought a cemetery plot," he says.

The only cure was a lung transplant.

Meanwhile, another man was facing a similar fate.

"They did not know what type of disease it was. They took a biopsy and realized there was no medication available and the only option I would have would be the lung transplant," says Clyde Conn.

Both men were living on borrowed time.

"I was told I had 18 months to live without the lung," Conn says.

The Cleveland Clinic does more lung transplants than anywhere else in the country, but it's not easy to find a set that are usable, but finally the phone call that would save their lives came.

Two strangers went into surgery, but came out connected, sharing a set of lungs from one donor.

Clyde got the right lung, Joe got the left.

A week later they met in intensive care.

That was four years ago.

The men developed a friendship tied together by life.

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