Steve Winfree has been battling kidney disease for 14 years. His wife, Heather Winfree, has been by his side through most of it.
According to WATE, Steve was first diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 18 years old. His parents were told that he wouldn’t make it to his thirtieth birthday.
He’s now 32.Screenshot/WATE
MLB.com reports that Steve started dialysis in November 2016, after which his doctors broke the news that Steve was in need of a kidney transplant.
Heather was more than ready to be his donor — if she was a match.GoFundMe
Heather and Steve told MLB.com that during their many stays in the hospital, they would buy packs of baseball cards and go through them together as a way to de-stress:
“There were a lot of times where he would be in the hospital and I would grab a pack and we would open them. The lowkey fun gets our minds off of the every day stresses.”
So when Heather handed Steve a pack of baseball cards as they sat on their porch on July 6, he didn’t think anything of it. That’s when Heather pulled out her camera and started recording him.
“She kept saying ‘you have a special insert there.’ I knew something was up because she never films me.”
The very last card Steve looked at wasn’t one of a professional baseball player, it was one with a picture of him on it. The word “recipient” was written where the player’s position is usually placed. On the back was a “statistic” that made him burst into tears.Screenshot/YouTube
Heather had been going through the steps to see if she was a match. As it turns out, she was.
The back of the baseball card was how Steve learned his wife was going to be the one who saved his life.Screenshot/WATE
Steve has had a lot on his plate. With his health issues, he has been striking out a lot. He was not sure how he was going to wind up. His wife Heather thinks he is a great catch so she decided to to bat for him. Now Steve will be a rookie recipient a Vanderbilt Transplant Center where his wife, Heather, will be pitching a new kidney to him. They are sure to hit it out of the ball park together!
“I saw it coming, but I lost it and I asked her, ‘You want to save my life?'”
“Rookie recipient at Vanderbilt” was the line that made the tears start rolling.
Heather was able to catch the whole reveal on camera, which she later uploaded to YouTube:
Heather must undergo a few additional tests to make sure she is healthy enough to go through with the surgery, and Steve is expected to have a new kidney by the end of July.
As a result of his kidney disease, Steve has been unable to have a full-time job for the last three years. The family is now raising money for the procedure through GoFundMe.
Steve hopes his story will inspire other to keep fighting and to keep the faith because as his story shows, “miracles happen.”