Woman Donates Kidney To Stranger And Receives Heart In Return

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When people talk about their partner as a “match,” they probably don’t mean it the way Ashley McIntyre and Danny Robinson do. The couple, who got engaged on Christmas Day, met amid pretty unromantic circumstances.

Ashley and Danny, who got engaged on Christmas Day.
The couple met while Robinson, 25, waited for a kidney transplant. A dialysis patient, he had been diagnosed at 16 with IgA nephropathy, a disease in which an antibody gets lodged in the kidneys and causes inflammation and loss of function. He spent four hours a day, three days a week on dialysis. His family was supportive, and many of them offered their kidneys, but no one was a match. Robinson spent two years on the transplant list, and when he finally found a donor, he was thrilled.

That donor? Ashley McIntyre, who, at the time, was a complete stranger.

Robinson’s situation touched Ashley, 26, and she decided to get tested. She underwent a battery of tests and, in what might qualify for the adverb miraculously, she was a perfect match. As a quick background, there are matches, which are rare enough and come with potential complications, and there are perfect matches, which are extremely rare. She was a perfect match. And not just in the kidney department: when the Robinsons and McIntyres finally met, Danny and Ashley clicked immediately. Some even joked that they should date. And little did they know.

McIntyre and Robinson in the hospital. McIntyre’s stay was shorter, as her surgery was less invasive, but she visited Robinson every day while he was still there.

After the operation and subsequent hospital stays, McIntyre and Robinson stayed in touch. Their friendship quickly evolved into something more. The couple is currently engaged, and McIntyre is pregnant with a girl. As for the operation, it was a resounding success. Robinson’s life expectancy more than doubled since his time on dialysis, and he says he has 10 times the energy, although he will have to take anti-rejection medication. McIntyre says that living with one kidney isn’t very different from living with two, and has nothing but a small scar.

Robinson and McIntyre today. They’re engaged, and are currently expecting a little girl.

Robinson, McIntyre, and the doctors say that this case was remarkable, and they hope that inspires more people to consider organ donation (including after death). Currently, there are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for kidneys–and that’s just for kidneys. “I know being a living organ donor is not possible for a lot of people,” McIntyre said in an interview with The Courier-Journal. “But it’s something to just think about. And even if it’s not an option, people can put on their license that they will donate [after death.] It’s just kind of a human thing, something [to] do for another person that could change their life.”

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