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JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. – A woman donated her kidney to a total stranger and now they are getting married.
When Ashley McIntyre heard about 25-year-old Danny Robinson’s plight as a dialysis patient, she decided to donate her kidney to him.
She says she first learned about Robinson through her mom, who heard Robinson’s mother talking about his need for a kidney on a radio show.
“I was on dialysis three days a week, four hours a day,” said Robinson.
He says family members offered to donate their kidneys, but “nobody matched.”
After hearing Robinson’s story, McIntyre contacted the local transplant program and started the pre-transplant testing.
“It was just one match after another,” McIntyre’s mother told the Courier-Journal. “I thought, ‘This can’t be coincidence.'”
When she found out she was a match, she started preparing for the transplant.
McIntyre knew she wanted to meet Robinson, so their families agreed to have dinner before the surgery.
“We all clicked immediately,” she said. “They told me I would always be a part of their family.”
The two told the Courier-Journal that they started talking on the phone, texting, and hanging out at the fundraisers held to help pay for their expenses during their times off from work for the transplant.
One April day, after two years on the transplant waiting list, Robinson was finally going to get the kidney he needed.
The transplant went great. There were no complications in either surgery.
On McIntyre’s pillow, Robinson wrote: “Words cannot express how much (you’ve) done for me.”
The couple began dating shortly after they got out of the hospital.
On Christmas day, Robinson popped the question.
“We went to my mom’s and started opening gifts,” he said. “I told her I’d forgotten one and pulled out a small box.”
Less than a year after hearing about Robinson on the radio, the couple is engaged and they are expecting their first child.
“I never in a million years imagined this would happen. … It was a whirlwind,” McIntyre told the Courier-Journal. “It’s crazy how it all worked. It was all planned out by God.”
Since only 1 percent of living kidney donations are from strangers, one expert believes the couple’s transplant was likely one of the only live donations between strangers across the state last year.