September 28th, 2017 at Vanderbilt Medical Center, my wife donated her kidney to me.
I was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 18. I am the only person in my family on both sides to have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). They still do not know exactly why I developed CKD, but I was diagnosed with basic scarring of the kidney.
Since I was diagnosed at the age of 18, I have spent my entire adult life being sick and constantly fighting. It caused rifts within my family, caused me to have issues with full time jobs, and has taken away more than one dream of mine. Dialysis was most difficult in regards to the mental aspect more so than the physical. There truly needs to be more focus on the mental aspect of kidney failure. Fortunately, I met my beautiful wife who accepted me for who I was with the disease and it turned out to be Gods blessing as she went on to save my life!
Getting a kidney transplant has truly changed my life for the better. I am 11 months post transplant and I have not felt this good since I was a teenager! I feel a love for my wife that has been missing for a long time. We are foster parents and I am now able to be the best parent I can be for these kids. I owe everything to my wife for what she did. For the first time in a long time I feel like it is OK to plan for the future and be excited about it.
I wish more people understood that kidney transplant is a type of renal therapy and not a cure. It will most definitely be life changing for the better, but remember that there is still a lot of work and responsibility as a patient to maintain your new kidney.
My wife used a custom baseball card to announce she was saving my life. She got it on film and to our surprise it went viral. We were blessed to have been on Good Morning America, ESPN, CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, People, Harry Connick Jr talk show twice and many other platforms to share our story and raise awareness for organ donation. We are currently writing our book about our love story leading up to the video and transplant and launching our website! We hope to use the national platform we have been given to help as many people as possible.
Follow them on Facebook: Steve and Heather Winfree Page
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee