When Wayne Winters’ wife, Deanne, was suffering from stage 5 kidney failure and was in need of a transplant, he took matters into his own hands. The 74-year-old Utah man spent his days walking up and down the street while wearing a sandwich board advertising his wife’s need for a kidney, as well as her blood type and their phone number.
Local news picked up on his story and it went viral:
Winters has been married to his wife for 26 years. Her kidneys no longer work and she’s currently surviving on dialysis.
In a desperate bid to save her life, he walked miles each day, hoping someone who could help would see his sign and contact him to give them both some good news. Winters told Fox13 that he he received between 700 and 800 calls from people hoping to help their cause.
Then on Nov. 5, the Winters finally got that miracle phone call.
“’We have a kidney for you, get down here!’” Winters told Fox 13 those were the words they heard when the hospital called to let them know that Deanne would be getting a transplant after two years of waiting.
Although the couple can’t know exactly how long the new kidney will prolong his wife’s life, Winters is not taking any time he may have left with her for granted. “If she can have a good five years that would be awesome, we can have our life back,” he said.
Now that his mission of securing a kidney for his wife is complete, Winters is not stopping here. On the back of his sign, he also wrote a plea for other people that are in need of transplants: “1,000 kidneys needed in Utah and Idaho.”
And he says he intends to continue pounding the pavement in hopes of finding donors for all those who are still suffering.
“I will spend more of my days walking with my sign to see how many I can get. Think about it—we could start a kidney revolution, and that would be so great,” he said.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 101,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for a kidney but only 17,000 will receive one each year. If you’d like to learn more about how you can become a kidney donor, find out more here.