When a code-enforcement officer in Frankfort, Illinois decided to donate half his liver to someone that had never met before, in order to save their life, he had no idea that person would one day become his life partner.
In March 2014, completely out of the blue, 27-years-old Heather Kruger was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer, and learned that she only had a few months left to live. Doctors told her that her only chance for survival was a liver transplant, but with so little time left, waiting for a liver from the state’s transplant list was not the best option, so they suggested finding a living donor. “They immediately told me I was going to need a transplant,” she recalls. “There was not much time to find a donor. By that time I could really feel my body shutting down.”
Her salvation came from a total stranger. Code-enforcement officer Chris Dempsey was in the lunch break room when he overheard Kruger’s cousin, Jack Dwyer, talking about her health problem and how she needed to find a donor or she would die. Dempsey had never heard about this person, let alone met her in person, but he immediately knew he wanted to help. “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,'” he says. So Chris just approached Dwyer and told him he wanted to get tested to see if he was a compatible donor, and it turned out that the two were a perfect match.