With a step at a time, a 74-year-old man is on a mission to save his wife’s life.
Wayne Winters has been strolling the streets near his home in Farr West, Utah, since mid-October, wearing a huge sign he hopes will be seen by the right person among the hundreds of cars driving past him. The sign, which is big enough to completely cover his torso, displays his phone number and a message in big bold letters: “Need Kidney 4 Wife.”
“My wife has stage 5 kidney failure,” Winters told FOX 13 of his wife, Deanne Winters. “She’s on dialysis and she doesn’t like it, it’s horrible.”
It was after he saw a story about another person who used a sign to gain exposure for a cause that Winters was inspired to do the same.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Winters told the news station. “I felt like I needed to do something.”
Finding a donor is no small feat—there are 3,000 new patients added to the kidney donor waiting list each month, and 13 people die every day while waiting for their chance, according to the National Kidney Foundation. It’s hard to know how long someone will remain on the waiting list, but waits of three years or more are not uncommon.
Winters has conducted many of his walks during rush hour so drivers can get a good look at his plea.
“They’re slowed down, they can look at my sign,” Winters said while laughing. “They can’t go home in a hurry.”
On his very first day of walking, he felt encouraged after he was stopped by a man who said he would check to see if he was a match for Deanne. But for now, he is holding on to hope as the search goes on.
Winters has been with his wife for 26 years, and he is doing his best to assure they will share many more years to come. Even after she receives a kidney, Winters told FOX 13 he will continue to raise awareness for kidney donations. It is now his life’s mission, he said.
“After I get a kidney I will have my wife back the way she was, normal, helping people, loving people,” he said. “She likes to serve other people.”
Anyone willing to help can call Winters at 801-675-0278 or visit the National Kidney Foundation to help others in need.