Perfect match: Navy veteran donates a kidney to dying woman after hearing her husband’s street appeal for donor

A devoted husband who spent a year walking the streets with a sandwich board appealing for a kidney donor for his wife is a very happy man after his wife successfully underwent surgery on Wednesday.

Larry Swilling’s extraordinary appeal came to fruition earlier this month when 41-year-old retired Navy lieutenant commander Kelly Weaverling came forward and proved to be a perfect match.

She read online about Larry’s admirable efforts to find a kidney for his beloved wife of 57 years, Jimmie Sue, and said she was immediately stuck with an overwhelming feeling that she could help.

xAll smiles: Kelly Weaverling, center, traveled to Anderson, South Carolina, to meet Larry and Jimmie Sue Swilling and donate a kidney to Mrs Swilling


HelpHelp: Larry Swilling walked with his signboard across the community to broadcast his need for a donor

‘Have you ever just had a feeling that was just a strong gut feeling that you just went with your instinct, because you just knew it was right?’ she told CBS. ‘That’s exactly what happened. I could do something to give this family hope.’

Earlier this week, Weaverling flew to Anderson, South Carolina, and met the Swillings.

‘I told her I was going to give her the biggest hug she’d ever had in her life,’ Larry Swilling, 78, told The Virginian Pilot. ‘And I did.’

On Wednesday, one of Kelly’s kidneys was successfully transplanted into Jimmie Sue at the Medical University of South Carolina.


Retired Navy lieutenant commander Kelly Weaverling, right, read online about Larry Swilling’s, left, admirable efforts to find a donor and proved to be the perfect match

Loyal husband: Larry Swilling's devotion to his wife led him to walk the streets with a signboard asking for an organ donor  Loyal husband: Larry Swilling’s devotion to his wife led him to walk the streets with a signboard asking for an organ donor

Larry Swilling first made headlines last September when he started walking all over his hometown wearing the sign with the message ‘NEED KIDNEY 4 WIFE’.

‘I had to do something. She looks after me, and I look after her,’ he told CBS.

Jimmie Sue, 76, had been born with only one kidney. It was failing her and the need for a replacement had become urgent as she had been having dialysis three times a week for the past year.

‘I knew it was going to happen because I know Larry. He would not have stopped until he got me one,’ said Mrs Swilling.


Wednesday’s operation proved a success: Both Jimmie Sue Swilling and donor Kelly Weaverling are doing well

cWhen Weaverling arrived in South Carolina, Swilling gave her ‘the biggest hug she’d ever had in her life’

Her husband had initially hoped that he might to donate a kidney to his wife himself, but neither he nor any of their three children have the right blood type.

Since his appeal had started, the couple had been inundated with offers almost 2,000 in total, from as far away as Germany, Switzerland and Jamaica.

Jimmie Sue was one of more than 96,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. According to statistics, donations from strangers are uncommon.

‘There’s not enough words,’ said Larry Swilling, struggling to find a way to thank Weaverling.

Forever love: Jimmie Sue, left, and Larry Swilling have been married for 57 yearsForever love: Jimmie Sue, left, and Larry Swilling have been married for 57 years
in sickness and in healthIn sickness and in health: Jimmie Sue, left, was born with only one kidney and desperately needed a transplant

One missionOne mission: Larry says he doesn’t care what people think of him asking strangers for help

Read more: Daily Mail

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