STARR, S.C. (Independent Mail/WSPA) – The woman who received national attention after her husband’s efforts to find her a kidney has died, according to the Independent Mail.
They report that 80-year-old Jimmie Sue Evans Swilling died in hospice Wednesday as a result of complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
However, her kidney and her husband’s love were both still going strong until the end.
William Larry Swilling Sr. became known throughout the nation when, around Labor Day weekend in 2012, he walked down Main Street in Anderson with a sign that read “Need kidney 4 wife,” and included his phone number at the bottom.
William Larry Swilling Jr. said his dad didn’t know what else to do to help his wife, so he decided to make a sign, Independent Mail says.
When he talked about the sign, no one thought he was serious.
“My mom wasn’t surprised,” he said. “She knew he was that crazy. Crazy in love.”
It was such a simple way to help, just walking with a sign, Swilling Jr. said.
Within days, Swilling Sr.’s phone was flooded with calls from around the country, and a few from other countries. Everyone wanted to help, and many were willing donors, Independent Mail says.
But the match was complicated. No members of the Swilling family were a match, and hundreds of others didn’t match either, they report.
A kidney that had been damaged decades ago as a complication of childbirth had begun to get worse. Jimmie Sue Swiling was facing dialysis and an uncertain future when her husband had the idea of the sign.
Jimmie Sue’s son believes his mom would have died long before she did if it weren’t for the kidney donation.
The donor, Navy veteran Kelly Patrick was living in Virginia Beach when she saw a Yahoo! News version of the story, Independent Mail reports.
“I like to say that it wasn’t my choice, it was meant to be. God intervened,” Patrick said Wednesday. “When I finished reading the story, I knew I was going to be a match. I predicted it.”
After two days at the Medical University of South Carolina, she was told she was a match, Independent Mail reports. The only match.
Patrick didn’t know the Swilling family before she donated her kidney, but after the operation on September 11, 2013, they started identifying coincidences. Swilling Sr. had visited property owned by Patrick’s uncle years ago. Patrick just recently moved back home to Athens, Georgia, and her church in Augusta, Georgia– Cokesbury United Methodist–is on property that was donated by Swilling ancestors more than 100 years ago, according to Independent Mail.
Jimmie Sue never let her husband forget about his crazy idea to get her a kidney, Swilling Jr. said.
“I never put it past him to do that,” he said. “And she loved him for it.”
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