Chronic patient rights advocate receiving kidney, and his reaction goes viral

7.12.17

7.12.17

Chronic disease patient rights advocate Steve Winfree will be getting a kidney donated to him by his wife, Heather – a fact he learned after Heather decided to film Steve’s reaction, and the video quickly went viral.

Steve, who has been in kidney failure for over 14 years, currently treats the disease with dialysis, a treatment that cleans toxins out of a patient’s blood, performing the kidneys’ function for them.

As the video went viral, Steve said he would use this opportunity to bring awareness to kidney disease and the donor process.

Kidney disease patients typically receive dialysis treatment multiple times each week. It can get expensive. As a result, many health insurance providers have looked for legal loopholes to remove kidney patients from their plans. Tennessee, where Steve and his wife live, has been a target for some insurers, who are rejecting patients’ payments if they come from the charitable organization American Kidney Fund.

For many dialysis patients, the opportunity to receive a kidney transplant is a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Most patients can only dream about receiving a new kidney and instead live their lives without a transplant.

As reported by ABC News, Steve learned he’d receive a transplant when going through a pack of baseball cards, a stress-relieving activity for Steve and his wife. Heather had inserted a surprise card with Steve’s picture on it into the deck. On the back were baseball puns to inform him that his wife was a donor match.

“Steve couldn’t finish reading the word transplant before he broke down into tears,” ABC reported. He told his wife: “Thanks for saving my life.”

Steve, who is active on Twitter and has a blog where he writes about kidney disease and its effects, has been dreaming of receiving a kidney transplant for years. His honesty and willingness to be open about his experience and the donor process is eye-opening.

At the Chronic Disease Coalition, we’d like to thank Steve for his bravery and willingness to share his journey. We could not be more thrilled that his wife is a kidney donor match. You can watch her video below.