Man who built giant snow kidney to raise awareness finds match

The Minnesota man who built a 7-foot-tall kidney out of snow in his front yard while waiting for news of a potential organ match has undergone transplant surgery.

Jim Gorbunow, 44, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and needed a replacement for the kidney he received 15 years ago. After a year and hundreds of potential matches falling through, Gorbunow underwent surgery on March 21, reported. A sign that reads “Jim God His Kidney!” has replaced the giant snow kidney in the family’s front yard.

Gorbunow’s kidney came from a 20-year-old who died from heart failure in Chicago. There were two people ahead of him, but they both needed a double transplant, whereas Gorbunow only needed a single organ.

“We didn’t know until the minute they rolled him into the operating room that yes, it was an actual match,” Jennie Gorbunow told

“He’s the kind of person when we got to see him after the surgery and I’m crying, he’s like, ‘It’s OK,’” Jennie told the news site. “I’m like, ‘What are you telling me it’s okay for? I should be telling you it’s okay.’”

Despite Gorbunow’s successful campaign to find a donor, he said his days of building kidney snowmen are not over.

“I’m going to keep it going. I’m not stopping now,” he told “Whether it’s another kidney or SpongeBob in my front yard, I’ll keep awareness going.”

The family is providing updates on his medical status via Facebook on the Jim Gorbunow Transplant Page.