CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago man who was shot almost a year ago had to go through 34 surgeries before the 35th surgery changed his life.

It’s been a long road for 32-year-old Patrick Noel.

“It was a long ride. A long, long ride,” he said.

Noel was on his way home from a family member’s house on July 24, 2016, when a car pulled up next to him. The driver asked if he was from the area and the shot Noel 10 times before driving off. It was a case of mistaken identity.

Six shots hit Noel, one grazed his head, others hit his back, foot and leg. Noel lost a lot of blood from the shooting, which led to the loss of his small bowel entirely and about half his colon. The biggest problem, though, was the bullet that pierced the blood vessels supplying his small intestine.

So then began almost three dozen surgeries. His small intestine was dying and he needed a transplant.

And he said UIC doctors initially thought the best case scenario would mean Noel would have a colostomy bag for life. And perhaps a shorter than normal life.

“And then they found out I had a twin,” Noel said.

An identical twin brother, who donated part of his small intestine two months ago, on April 27.

twinswbenedetti A Twin Saves His Brother By Undergoing A Rare Small Bowel Transplant

Dr. Enrico Benedetti, who performed the transplant surgery, with Derrick (center) and Patrick Noel. (Credit: University of Illinois Chicago)

“When the doctors found out that I was Patrick’s twin, they hinted that down the road I might be asked to donate part of my small bowel to him, and I was fine with that right from the start,” said Derrick.

“He didn’t ask any questions,” Noel said. “He just said ‘yes’.”

And now Noel said he’s closer than ever to his twin, Derrick.

“I have a son that’s 7. So without him, I never would’ve been able to go outside and kick the ball with my son…He made it where I can live a normal life.

“Everything that I lost I gained back,” Noel said.

Noel says he’s forgiven the person who shot him.

“I think it’s messed up, but I can’t dwell on that,” Noel said.

He said it wasn’t just his twin brother who stepped up.

“My mom, my grandmother, uncles, sister – all of them. They would take shifts and make sure that they watched me and made sure I was OK.

“And I think that’s a very important part of the story. I watched a lot of people in the hospital. Nobody had visitors. And here – I had people there every day.”

Half of his 32 years, Patrick Noel has worked for Greyhound, starting at the bottom and working his way up. He is now working on gaining weight and strength at home.

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