When Heather Krueger, a 27-year-old Chicago woman was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 liver disease and told she urgently needed a transplant, she thought her life was over. That's when a stranger heard about her situation and stepped in, changing both of their lives forever.
CBS' Steve Hartman spoke to the patient and donor in this touching "On the Road" segment below:
"They immediately told me I was going to need a transplant," Ms Krueger told Hartman, adding that, "By that time I could really feel my body shutting down."
Doctors told Krueger that she had only a few months to live unless a donor could be found.
Chris Dempsey, a code enforcement officer for a town south of Chicago, happened to overhear someone talking about Heather's dire situation while he was in the lunchroom one day.
"I spent four years in the Marine Corps and learned there never to run away from anything. So I just said to myself, 'Hey, if I can help, I’m going to help'," Dempsey told the reporter.
The two had never met, but after Chris was tested and confirmed that he was a compatible donor, the two decided to meet.
"We had lunch together, discussed what the whole process was going to be," Heather said, adding that Chris even treated for the meal.
Not long after their initial meeting, the pair successfully underwent the life-saving transplant surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital, which involved removing about half of Chris' liver.
After the surgery, the couple continued their friendship, which blossomed into love. The once strangers were married just 18 months later.
In her wedding vows, Heather said, "You are the most incredible man I have ever known. You believe in me and you make me feel amazing every single day. Because of you, I laugh, smile and I dare to dream again."
Exit thought from Hartman, who sums it well:
"Acts of great kindness are done without expectation. When Chris decided to give an organ to random stranger, he had no idea he was saving his own wife. But such is the way of goodness. The more likely you are to live for others, the more likely you are to live happily ever after."