His sibling, Michael, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy from a young age, and when they were teenagers, the family “learned that Michael had an enlarged heart and had three to four weeks to live without a transplant,” according to ET Online. “While doctors initially thought they could buy some time with a drug treatment, Michael later crashed, was moved to the top spot on the transplant list, and given 48 hours to live.”
Ashton recalled the moment he was told about the severity of his brother’s condition.
“I was at my friend’s house, suddenly my dad picks me up and is like, ‘You’re going to go see your brother.’ In hindsight you realize, they want me to see him because they don’t know where this is going,” the actor said, holding back years. “I go in the room and I’m like, ‘Whoa! Everything’s not OK.’ He flatlines in the room… They’re grabbing me and they take me out.” It was then that Ashton thought to himself, “If anyone’s a match, I’m a match.” He even considered taking his own life, so he could give his heart to his brother. “This balcony looks far enough to take things,” he remembers thinking:
Dr. Agus told ET that, for Ashton, that moment “was the realization that this could be the end” for Michael. “Ashton went to his parents and said, ‘Take my heart.’ He said it truthfully. He really wanted to give it to his brother,” Dr. Agus said. “…The person he loved most in the world, his brother, [was] going through this and he wasn’t able to… just push [Michael] along. He had helped his brother with cerebral palsy and some social issues at school, but now here’s an issue that he can’t fix.”
Thankfully, Michael found a match. He and Ashton didn’t always get along (“Every time you feel sorry for me, you make me less,” he once told his That ’70s Show star brother), but they see each as “straight up equals” now. You can watch the full episode above.
The Checkup with Dr. David Agus is available now on Paramount+.
(Via ET Online)