74-year-old man walks miles to find wife a kidney donor

74-year-old man walks miles to find wife a kidney donor

When you want to raise awareness about something, your first thought is to go online. The Internet is the best way to connect with people. You can communicate instantly, and we're addicted to checking it every five seconds. Between our phones and our computers, we spent countless hours every day gazing into cyberspace.

But sometimes it's hard to stand out in that ocean of information. Your email, Tweet, Facebook post or YouTube video might get lost in the mix and ignored. And what if you have a request that's important, regarding a real life or death situation? Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is why Wayne Winters skipped posting online, to post on a sandwich board.

Wayne Winters and Deanna Winters Credit: WREX.com

Wayne and Deanna Winters were happily married for 26 years. However, tragedy struck when Deanna was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure. Wayne wanted to help, but wasn't sure how. "“I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I felt like I needed to do something.”

That's when the 74-year-old man came up with a brilliant idea. Wayne wrote "Need kidney 4 wife" on a sandwich board, and added his phone number. Then he put on the sign, and walked the streets for miles every day around his Utah home.

Wayne Winters wearing kidney sign / sandwich board Credit: Fox 13

The response was immediate, and incredible. People constantly stopped their cars to ask how they could help. Soon word got out to the press, and the local news did a story that went viral. All of a sudden, Wayne had hundreds of voicemails:

"Between seven and eight hundred. It filled my phone up. I'm sitting here with this full phone.

They said 'I saw you on TV and I liked the story. I want to help your wife.'

I was just overwhelmed. I didn't know what to think."

Three weeks later, he didn't have to walk the streets any more. The couple got a call from the hospital with good news: "We have a kidney for you. Get down here." It came from a donor who recently passed away, and the couple was thankful. After spending more than two years on the waiting list, Deanna had a new lease on life.

“If she can have a good five years, that would be awesome," Wayne said. "We can have our life back."

Wayne Winters wearing kidney sandwich board sign Credit: WTHR

Deanna made a complete recovery, but Wayne's not retiring his sandwich board just yet. Moved by the experience, he still walks the streets, trying to help other people in desperate need of new kidneys.

“I will spend more of my days walking with my sign to see how many I can get.

Think about it, we could start a kidney revolution and that would be so great."

It's amazing how much Wayne Winters has accomplished with his real life "message board."

For another incredible medical story, check out this article about rich entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who buy young people's blood.