Man donates kidney to stranger to save his wife’s life

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Every single day, Jill Deitz wakes up hoping that she will get a kidney.

“I have been diabetic for 43 years and my kidneys started to fail 12 years ago,” Dietz, a prospective living kidney recipient, told WXIN.

After all, her life depends on it.

“My health has been our biggest hurdle,” said Deitz.

Right now in Indiana, the wait for a kidney from a deceased donor could take up to five years.

“If you are on the kidney waiting list, you are literally just waiting to die. Which is a very sobering thought and my husband is changing that and he is letting me live,” said Deitz.

So on Wednesday, Jill’s husband of 31 years will donate his kidney to a stranger as part of the Indiana University Health Living Kidney Donor Exchange program.

“She is my best friend and I would do anything for her,” said Andy Deitz.

Dr. Tim Taber, the medical director of the transplant program at IU Health, says Andy’s donation will guarantee that his wife will receive a kidney down the road. The program pools incompatible recipient/donor pairs with others to look for possible compatible pairings among them.

According to the IU Health website, the pairings could be as simple as a swap between two pairs. Or, it could be more complicated -- so as to maximize the number of recipients who would benefit.

It can save a lot of valuable time.

“What people try to do is get a living donor so they can get a kidney in a month or two and not have to wait for the three to five years,” said Dr. Taber.

So, as Andy prepares for surgery, he knows he is not just helping his wife but saving a stranger.

“Tomorrow is a great day for us to be able to help someone else out that we do not even know and then help Jill out down the road when she is ready to do it and does not have to wait,” said Andy.