UPDATE (November 7, 2017) —Wonderful news about 74-year-old Wayne Winters, the Utah man who had been walking miles each day in search of a kidney donor for his beloved wife, Deanne.
On Sunday, Winters told KSTU that he received the call they've been waiting for after two years.
“I was just so overwhelmed,” Winters said. “I didn’t know what to think.”
Finding a kidney donor is a difficult task. According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are more than 3,000 new patients added to the kidney donor waiting list each month, and 13 people die each day while waiting for their chance.
In hopes of finding a donor, Winters walked miles wearing a sign that read, “Need Kidney 4 Wife.” After Winter's story hit the news, hundreds of people contacted him wanting to help.
“Between seven to 800 [calls], it filled my phone up,” he said. “I’m sitting here with this full phone.”
Although Winters received several offers, his wife's kidney came from an organ donor who had passed away. The long-awaited transplant will give Winters and his wife of 26 years the time to create even more memories together.
“If she can have a good five years that would be awesome, we can have our life back,” Winters said.
Winters said that he plans to continue his daily walks to help others get the same chance.
“I will spend more of my days walking with my sign to see how many I can get,” he said. “Think about it. We could start a kidney revolution and that would be so great.”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE (September 22, 2017) — How far would you go for love? Wayne Winters, a 74-year-old man from Utah, has been walking miles each day in search of a kidney donor for his wife of 26 years, Deanne. Winters began his journey on the streets near his home, wearing a white sandwich board with red letters that read, “Need Kidney 4 Wife.” The sign also notes her blood type, A-, and his contact information.
“I don’t walk real fast,” Winters told Fox 13. "I'm trying to get a kidney for my wife. [She] has stage five kidney failure. She's on dialysis and she doesn't like it. It's horrible ... I felt like I needed to do something."
On the back of the sandwich board, passersby will see another message that reads, “1,000 Kidneys Needed Utah/Idaho.” And, as unfortunate as it is, he’s 100 percent right. According to the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho, more than 97,000 patients are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.
Winters credits his sandwich board idea to Larry Swilling, a South Carolina man who walked the streets in 2012, searching for a kidney donor for his wife Jimmy Sue.
While Winters admits it’s been hard seeing Deanne in so much pain, he says the public’s response has been overwhelming — so much so that he was approached on the very first day of his walk by a hopeful man who stopped to say he would see if he was a match for Deanne.
Now, Winters is determined to keep searching until they’ve found a positive match.
“After I get a kidney I will have my wife back the way she was, normal, helping people, loving people; she likes to serve other people,” Winters continued.
For more information about donating a kidney, please visit kidney.org. To help Winters directly, call 801-675-0278.