Ashley McIntyre found out, beyond her wildest imagination, that she was far more than just a ‘perfect match’ as a kidney donor for an unknown man. She was a love match as well. Little did she know that through her selfless act of donating a kidney she would gain his heart in return and find the love of her life in him.
The same age as Ashley, Danny Robinson had already been through so much since he was diagnosed at age 16 with IgA nephropathy, an inflammatory kidney disease. He had been in kidney failure since 2012, the same year he lost his father to brain cancer.
The Louisville, Kentucky, electrician was working full time and undergoing four-hour stints of dialysis three nights a week to stay alive while he waited for a transplant.
In January 2014, Ashley overheard her mother telling her grandmother about Danny. The young man and his mother had just been on a local radio talk show sharing their story. None of his family members had been eligible to donate their kidneys, and the anonymous donors who volunteered weren’t compatible either.
Ashley immediately felt compassion for this soft-spoken stranger.
The next day was her 25th birthday. She got a hold of Danny’s mom through the radio host and said she couldn’t think of anything she’d rather do for her birthday than give someone the gift of life.
She was already signed up to donate her organs after her death, but had never considered being a living organ donor. Irony has it that Danny had Type O blood, meaning he could only be matched with a Type O donor, which she was.
Statistics from the National Kidney Foundation indicate that more than 100,000 Americans need a kidney, and fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year. Less than 6,000 of those actually come from a living donor- and fewer than 200 living donors are like Ashley, with no connection or relation to the person in need.
The two families bonded in the months preceding the transplant on April 17, 2014. The night before their surgeries, Danny gave Ashley a musical jewelry box inscribed with the words, “Ashley, you’re an angel … Danny.” It played “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson Five.
A month later, with the transplant behind them, the couple was able to develop the deeper connection they strongly sensed but proceeded cautiously. Although they already knew by that time they and their families were connected for life.
They have been inseparable ever since. Danny proposed this past Christmas and they have a baby on the way this summer. Ashley said, “I feel like my feet haven’t touched the ground. It’s just been an incredible, unexpected, serendipitous journey.”
Two people brought together in such an unbelievable way is amazing people across the country and even Ashley herself made the comment, “It’s crazy how it all worked. It was all planned out by God.”
Sounds like some pretty miraculous workings to us.