The Lookout

Husband still needs a kidney for his wife

The Lookout

Larry Swilling has been on a months-long quest: He's  searching for a kidney for his wife.

The 78-year-old, who has been looking for a compatible kidney donor for 76-year-old Jimmie Sue since last September, has caught the attention of the Web.

But almost a year later, and despite lots of good will and plenty of offers from around the globe, he still doesn't have a match.

It all started when Jimmie Sue Swilling, who was born with one instead of a pair of these vital organs, began to experience kidney failure.

Larry Swilling, who has been married to his wife for 57 years, told CBS News last year that his wife is “my heart,” and that he could not accept the two- to three-year-long waiting list from deceased donors.

Neither Larry nor other family members are a suitable match, which depends on blood and tissue compatibility, among other things.

There is no waiting list for someone who offers to donate a kidney to a specific person as long as the kidney is compatible.

Larry Swilling began a quest to find a donor, wearing a sandwich board with the simple plea “Need kidney 4 wife.” He walked hundreds of miles on his solo search for help.

After CBS News aired the story last December, hundreds of calls came in to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

"I've had calls from miles around. I've had calls from Egypt, Sweden, all over," Swilling told the New York Daily News. But a year later, none has resulted in a kidney.

Unfortunately, just wanting to donate a kidney is not enough. "We have some donors who have a history of high blood pressure or diabetes and that rules them out," Sara Parker, exchange coordinator for living donors and a nurse in MUSC's transplant center, told Fox News.

Still, Larry Swilling is not giving up. For now, his wife undergoes dialysis while she waits. And hopes. For Larry Swilling, there is no other option. "She’s my everything. ... She’s my life," he said.

Anyone who could be a potential donor is urged to call the Medical University of South Carolina at 1-800-277-8687.

View Comments (513)