KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Heather Winfree says her husband has always had her heart. In a few weeks, he’ll also have her kidney.
Her husband, Steve Winfree, was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 18 years old. After his diagnosis, he said doctors told his parents he would not live to age 30.
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After she found out she was a match, Heather Winfree used a custom made Topps baseball card to let her husband know he wouldn’t be striking out because of health issues anymore. She says her husband is an avid collector.
As she filmed the event, Steve Winfree pulled cards of Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard and Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier. Then he found a special Topps card with his own picture on the front.
On the back of the card, there was a message to Steve Winfree from his wife. It read:
Steve has had a lot on his plate. With his health issues, he has been striking out a lot. He was not sure how he was going to wind up. His wife Heather thinks he is a great catch so she decided to to bat for him. Now Steve will be a rookie recipient a Vanderbilt Transplant Center where his wife, Heather, will be pitching a new kidney to him. They are sure to hit it out of the ball park together!
As Steve Winfree read the baseball card on his back porch he broke down crying. He said he had no idea his wife was a match until that moment.
“The line that made me cry was, ‘rookie recipient at Vanderbilt,'” remembers Steve Winfrey while sitting side-by-side with his wife on their front porch.
Heather Winfree posted the video to YouTube where it has been viewed more than 60,000 times.
“My wife saved my life. My gosh, you just saved my life. I don’t really think I can thank you enough, but I can try,” said Steve Winfree to his wife.
The couple says they’re still processing what’s about to happen, but are already planning to use their viral following for good.
“I want to help people who are waiting for a kidney, hey miracles happen. Keep the faith. Keep fighting. People are out there. People you don’t even know love you,” said Steve Winfree.
Heather Winfree says she will go back to Vanderbilt Transplant Center for two days of testing just to make sure she is in good enough health to donate a kidney. If all goes as planned, the surgery will happen at the end of the month.
“Half of my life almost, I’ve been sick and preparing myself that even though I’m getting a transplant it’s not a cure, it’s a treatment,” said Winfree. “Life after transplant still not easy.”
Steve Winfree says he is working on a book about his experience with kidney disease. It’s called “Superman Needs Insulin, But Can’t Afford It Either.” He says the book should be available at the end of 2017.