William Larry Swilling is walking the streets of Anderson County, S.C., to save his wife's life. And he'll keep walking until the sign he carries reaches the right person.
Armed with a sandwich board that reads "NEED KIDNEY 4 WIFE," Swilling, 77, has told news outlets that the sign has generated lots of response and even offers of money -- but no kidney yet.
Jimmy Sue Swilling, his wife for nearly 56 years, was born with one kidney. Now that one is failing.
"I love her more now than I believe when I married her because we're not two, we're one," he told CNN (video above). "We need each other and we've been together so long."
Swilling walked 7 1/2 miles on Friday, and hits the streets when he isn't working his job at Consolidated Southern Industries, reports say.
He told WYFF that he had six pages of names of potential donors. All will be tested for free, and Swilling said he'll even pay for gas money to the clinic.
Neither Swilling nor the couple's three children have the proper blood type, so Swilling came up with the attention-getting plan last Tuesday. "I know Larry will do everything possible for me," Jimmy Sue Swilling said to CNN.
Statistically, Swilling's outreach to strangers appears to make some sense. Among the 18,052 kidney donations in 2006, only 4,000 were from living related donors and just 824 came from spouses and other romantic partners, according to kidneylink.org. The number of unrelated living donors numbered 1,450. However, the bad news for Swilling's campaign is that the vast majority (11,576) were harvested from deceased donors.
It should be noted that kidney donation does not alter life expectancy for the donors, said the University of Maryland Medical Center in citing current research. Those with one kidney can live ordinary lives, the website added.
Swilling hopes his determination -- and the kindness of strangers -- will pay off.
"I want my kidney," he told CNN. "That is going to save my wife and that's what I want."
Click through the slideshow below to read 11 inspiring organ donation stories.
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