Steve Winfree thought his wife, Heather, was giving him a stack of baseball cards, but hidden inside was a much bigger surprise: the news that she was a match to give him a kidney.
The Tennessee man, an avid card collector, was amused when he came across the custom card bearing his face. The card reads:
"Steve has had a lot on his plate. With his health issues he has been striking out a lot. He was not sure how he was going to wind up. His wife Heather thinks he is a great catch so she decided to go to bat for him. Now Steve will be a rookie recipient at Vanderbilt Transplant Center where his wife, Heather, will be pitching a new kidney to him. They are sure to hit it out of the ball park together!"
When Steve got to the part about the transplant, he stopped reading, breaking down in tears. Steve has been battling kidney disease since he was a teenager and was not expected to live to age 30, WATE reports.
His wife told him she had found out earlier that day she was a match.
"I got the phone call and I went into the stairwell at work and I just, I just started bawling my eyes out," Heather said.
She had already ordered the present, a collection of Topps cards including Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard, Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier and the custom card. She rushed to change the custom card.
"I couldn't wait and I really wanted to tell you in a special way," she said.
If all goes well, the transplant could happen by the end of July.
"My wife saved my life. My gosh, you just saved my life. I don't really think I can thank you enough, but I can try," Steve said.
As thankful as Steve is, he says he knows what to expect after the procedure.
"It's not a cure, it's a treatment," he told WATE. "Life after transplant's still not easy."
Steve wants to use the attention their video has received to help others who are looking for kidney donors.
"Hey, miracles happen. Keep the faith. Keep fighting," he said. "People are out there. People you don't even know love you."
Read more about this story from WATE.