KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A diehard baseball fan in need of a life-saving kidney transplant got the surprise of his life last week when he opened a new pack of Topps player cards. In a YouTube video shared on Twitter, Steve Winfree, of Knoxville, excitedly reveals Noah Syndergaard, Mike Trout and Clint Frazier cards before reaching one of featuring a photo of himself.
“What the heck?” Winfree said, before his wife, Heather, asked what it was.
“It looks like a baseball card,” he said, before flipping it over to read the explainer.
“Steve’s had a lot on his plate. With his health issues he has been striking out a lot,” he read from the card. “He was not sure how he was going to wind up. His wife Heather thinks he is a great catch, so she’s decided to go to bat for him. Now Steve will be a rookie recipient at Vanderbilt Transplant Center…”
Both Winfree, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease 14 years ago, and Heather are overcome with emotion as she informs him that she was found to be a match for donation, and that the surgery could take place by the end of July.
"You're saving my life," he says as he breaks down into tears.
Steve Winfree posted a follow-up video on Twitter about the amazing news. "It turns out that the person that's donating to save my life is my wife," he said.
"We feel so blessed, so amazed at how many wonderful people are out there, who are watching our video and wishing us luck, it just absolutely means the world to us," said Winfree. He says it's been a whirlwind being contacted by media and even by Topps, along with the people who have reached out to them and left them comments.
The couple hopes to document what it's like to be a donor so they can help out others. "We hope that our journey and our videos and our documentation of the next month or so can help people realize what it's really like and maybe it's not as bad as you think," he said.
The original video posted on YouTube has been viewed nearly 200,000 times. The couple has raised about half of their goal for the transplant through their GoFundMe account.
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