New kidney, new life: an update - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

New kidney, new life: an update

ROCHESTER/LEWISTON, MN (KTTC-DT) -- For Valentine's Day, many of us get chocolates, candy, or flowers. But this story was the ultimate gift: the gift of life.

Betty Wirt says, "Chance to do things he hasn't been able to do."

Last February, we introduced you to Lewiston residents Thomas and Betty Wirt. Thomas had been on a three-year search for a kidney donor.

Right before Valentine's Day, the Wirts received a phone call from Florida resident Cindi Love, who found Thomas on the website

Thomas Wirt says, "She called and told me she'd like to give me a kidney. And it was awesome."

Cindi Love says, "I'm going to come give you a Valentine kidney. It's not chocolate either."

Love, a soccer referee, said she needed some time to slow down and thought giving her kidney away would be a good opportunity for that. Overjoyed, the Wirts prepared for surgery, as a complete stranger would selflessly offer Thomas another chance at life.

Cindi flew to Rochester; she and Thomas underwent surgery on February 17th, 2010.

Thomas says, "It's a wonderful feeling to have a new kidney."

We spoke with them after their surgery, as they recovered, spending a few last moments together before they'd return to their separate lives.

Cindi says, "I found a great match. And that's what it's about, is helping each other. And it worked for us. It really did. I've got a new brother. So that's a gift back to me. And I got a new brother and sister, and a whole new family."

A year later, they are still in touch. Both are doing extremely well.

Thomas says, "Everybody tells me that attitude is everything. And I try to keep a good attitude. And we made it through."

We're told to show love and generosity not just on Valentine's Day, but throughout the year.

Betty says, "I can't think of a greater gift for someone to give someone than their kidney. It's meant a lot to us."

And that's a gift you can't put a price on.

Cindi, on the phone, says, "It was great talking to you guys and I love you."

Thomas and Betty say, "Ok. Love you too Cindi."


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