Ten years ago I was newly divorced, raising three young children and recently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Life was a struggle but I vowed to remain positive and focus on my future. I took a leap of faith and signed up for Cupid.com, an online dating site. This was after many failed attempts at dating post divorce.
By chance, the very first man I connected with was John, we agreed to meet right away rather than waste valuable time. We clicked immediately and I remember thinking that this was the kindest man I had ever met, he seemed so perfect in so many ways. We dated for a year or so and things were not easy for me, trying to raise the young adolescents, work full time, fight the disease and maintain a love life so I found reasons why it could not work for John and I and eventually broke it off.
We found our way back together after some time and he eventually proposed and I accepted. Again, I found myself being pulled in too many directions and created reasons why it could not work, I broke off our engagement. I remember John standing on my front walk in the pouring rain saying "I just know we are supposed to be together, I know it is God's will". It hurt me to hear him say that but I just couldn't commit at that time. Six months went by and I missed my best friend, I felt the desire to call him with every bit of news, good or bad, that I had in my life.
Eventually, my heart told me that I could not live without him, I loved him desperately. On January 29th, 2006, with all of our friends and family by our sides, we were married. Life was as it should be, we blended our families and began our lives together. Two years later, my diagnosis changed to IgA Nephropathy, a rare and incurable kidney disease. I would need a transplant and soon.
Without hesitation, John piped up "I'm going to be the donor". My doctor told him that it does not work like that and the chances of him being a match were 1 in 700,000! Not likely. None the less, he got tested and by nothing short of a miracle, he was a perfect match! They told us he was not only a match but a 4 DNA marker match, a rare case indeed. February 10th, 2009, on a frigid day at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the love of my life Gave Me Life!
He is my hero and I will never be able to tell him enough how much he means to me. I keep hearing his voice telling me that 'he just knows we are supposed to be together' and now I know why. Miracles happen every single day and I know how deeply I am blessed, he not only saved my life but he gave my children their mother for many years to come. I am strong and healthy and disease free now all because my husband decided to Donate Life. We now spread the word every day about the Donate Life program and encourage others to consider being donors, living or otherwise. It's funny how you often are not aware of things until they touch your life directly then if feels like your mission to live and breath the cause. My husband, John Pinto may have stolen my heart but he gave me a kidney in it's place!