Published September 14, 2013
Larry Swilling finally found his miracle.
The South Carolina man who avowedly and publicly stumped for more than a year in hopes of finding a kidney donor for his ailing wife reportedly found not only a willing, but medically suitable, donor.
CBS News reports retired Navy lieutenant commander Kelly Weaverling, 41, went under the knife Wednesday to donate the kidney needed to save Jimmie Sue Swilling’s life. The surgery was reportedly a success.
"Have you ever just had a feeling that was just a strong gut feeling that you just went with your instinct, because you just knew it was right?" Kelly told CBS News. "That's exactly what happened. I could do something to give this family hope."
"There's not enough words," Larry Swilling said.
Swilling first made news about a year ago, when he aggressively set out to find a kidney donor for his wife of 57 years.
"She’s my everything. We've been married 57 years. She’s my life," Swilling told FoxNews.com in June.
Swilling, 77, of Anderson, S.C., began his public appeal last September by walking 250 miles, wearing a sandwich board sign that read, "NEED KIDNEY 4 WIFE," with his phone number listed at the bottom.
The excursion led to knee surgery for the 77-year-old Swilling, but his determination did not yield the needed organ.
Thousands reportedly called to offer their kidneys, and more than 100 actually underwent the testing necessary to see if they were a match. In the end, one person – Weaverling – proved a good fit.
Following Wednesday’s successful surgery, Larry Swilling bear-hugged doctors and struggled to find a way to thank Weaverling, according to CBS News.
"Just take care of your wife," the donor reportedly replied. "Just take care of her."