Husband In Viral Video Receives Kidney Transplant

Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 21:38:04-04

The husband who found out his perfect match for a kidney transplant through a custom-made baseball card underwent his surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Steve Winfree and his wife Heather gained national attention after the video of the surprise went viral. 

Heather learned through doctors that she was a match for her husband. In July, she recorded him reading about the news on a custom-made baseball card she ordered since he is a longtime Atlanta Braves fan. 

"I'm so proud of her, and I'm so ashamed of myself because I tell people I didn't expect her to be that creative," Winfree told NewsChannel 5. 

Winfree was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 18 years old. Over the last 14 years, his condition would get worse with severe gout and arthritis. 

"One day when I left the hospital, my wife said 'enough is enough', because I was always told you're sick, your kidneys aren't working, you're on dialysis but you're not quite sick enough to qualify for a transplant," added Winfree. 

Last Thursday, the Knoxville couple underwent the transplant surgery. Heather was able to travel back home over the weekend. 

Steve said his recovery has gone well but expected to see drastic changes in the weeks to come.

"My joints feel like I did when I was a teenager, I'm up walking around and I was even doing a few dances with my wife," said Winfree.

He said the surgery will allow him to be the husband he's always wanted to be and hopes to attend more Braves games with his family. 

Winfree wants to use the platform he's gained to encourage others to stay strong and never give up. 

"There are people out there that love you and even if you don't know them, they want to help you, they want to be your superhero, your time is coming," urged Winfree. "Just stay positive, help as many people as you can, I promise your miracle is coming."

Since the video went viral, Winfree raised money for the American Kidney Fund and became a spokesperson for Donate Life America to encourage more living donors.