Kidney Recipient Walks His Donor Down the Aisle

May 14, 2012

In 2010, Cindi Love donated a kidney to save the life of a total stranger—and she didn’t think twice about doing it! She first became interested in being an organ donor after watching her nephew Ken suffer from diabetes from a very young age. When she learned Ken needed a kidney transplant, she went through the testing process in hopes of being his donor, but she wasn’t a perfect match.

She began researching transplants, and she was shocked to learn how many Americans are awaiting kidney transplants. As of today, more than 92,000 people need kidney transplants in the U.S. Cindi decided that even if she couldn’t save her nephew’s life, she could give someone else a second chance at life!

“We’re all really brothers and sisters in this world,” she said. “I believe we’re here for a reason, and one of those reasons is to help each other.”

Through her research, Cindi discovered, which has been compared to an online dating site for kidney patients, as it connects patients with potential donors. She signed up with Matching Donors and soon received e-mails from several patients; one of those was from Tom Wirt, a patient at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. After six months of testing, she learned she was officially a perfect match for Tom!

On Valentine’s Day, she flew from her home in Florida to Minnesota, and days later she and Tom both underwent surgery. Since 2010, Cindi has kept in touch with the Wirt family, and she was thrilled to invite them to her wedding. Not only that, she asked Tom to walk her down the aisle, and he was more than happy to have the honor and be part of her special day.

“It was amazing seeing Tom and his wife, Betty. Tom looked great,” said Cindi. “It was a wonderful experience, as all of my family and my husband’s family got to meet him. It was also fun because so many people who supported me were at the wedding, and they got to see first-hand how love can work in people’s lives!”