Louisville man receives kidney from complete stranger, then nominates her for award on national TV
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest scoured the country for weeks looking for a winner as part of UPS' "Wishes Delivered Campaign."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest scoured the country for weeks looking for a winner as part of UPS' "Wishes Delivered Campaign."
"We have received amazing lots of heartfelt entries, but our winner's story truly stood out," Ripa said on Friday's show. "This is Amy. She lives in Kentucky."
It all started back in May, when Amy Turley was sitting at her home in Maceo just outside Owensboro.
"I'd lost three family members, lost a friend, my mother's cancer had come back," she said. "I just kept praying for something positive to come into my life."
That's when a post popped up on her Facebook page about a Louisville man who desperately needed a kidney.
"I kept praying about it, and then just kind of left it alone," Turley said. And then every time I signed on, he would pop up ... So I sent a message to them asking if they were still looking for a donor."
Ed Johnston, 54, was born with only one kidney, but his health took a turn four years ago, and he was put on UK's transplant list.
"Doctor said, 'It's time. You're now functioning less than 20 percent,'" Johnston said.
After months of screenings and compatibility tests, Turley called Johnston's wife Amelia in November to tell her they were a match.
"That night that I found out, I actually went and worked out," Johnston said. "When I came home, I told Amelia the weight on my shoulders had been lifted."
Doctors performed the live kidney transplant a week before Thanksgiving.
"The surgery went great, but the recovery, it was a lot more than what I expected," Turley said. "But I would do it again."
That selflessness is what gave Johnston the idea to nominate Turley, which everyone to Friday.
"We loved your story so much, and we were so inspired by it … you're our winner!" Ripa said to Turley.
"I didn't know what to say or do," Turley said. "I feel like Ed saved me ... like spiritually, you know?"
Turley and her family won a trip to Disney World and $10,000.
"For a complete stranger to do this for you is just amazing," Johnston said. "I'll never be able to express the gratitude."
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