Former marine donates liver to stranger – and falls in love

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Chris Dempsey with organ donor lover Heather Krueger. Image: Chris Dempsey

When former American Marine Chris Dempsey donated his liver, he never expected the recipient, Heather Krueger, would end up being his wife.

The couple’s hospital-bed romance is a touching tale, one that illustrates in the most poignant way that no act of kindness is ever wasted.

Chris, 26, overheard a work colleague talking about cousin, Heather, 37, and her battle with stage-four liver disease. The situation was dire and Heather had been told there was only a 50% chance of her living more than two months if she didn’t find a matching liver as soon as possible.

“When I heard about it, I just thought I would want someone to help me,” Chris told ABC America. So Chris volunteered his liver in the hope it would be a match.

Before even meeting Heather, Chris underwent a series of tests to see whether he would be a suitable match for an organ transplant. Sure enough, he was a perfect match.

“He [Chris] called me and said the tests came out great, let’s do this, I’m a match, I’m your donor,” said Heather. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The pair underwent surgery at Illinois Hospital where doctors removed 55 per cent of Chris’ liver during a marathon eight-hour session.

Thankfully, the operation was a success.

It was then during the pair’s two-month-long recovery that romance unexpectedly blossomed and, by the time they were discharged, Chris and Heather were officially a couple.

A few months later, Chris proposed during her on a romantic carriage ride in Chicago – and Heather said ‘yes!’

They plan to marry in October 2016 and many of the doctors and medical staff from the hospital will be in attendance.

“You never know what will happen to change someone’s life,” says Chris. “I never would have thought this a year ago.”

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Chris and Heather moments after his proposal. Image: Chris Dempsey

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Chris and Heather are getting married in October 2016. Image: Chris Dempsey


Happily ever after. A very happy and healthy Heather, with her beloved fiance Chris, months after her life-saving operation. Image: Chris Dempsey

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