Many people believe that everything happens for a reason. After hearing what happened to Bill Sumiel last year, we just might agree!
Bill is 71 years old and has been in kidney failure for over a decade. With his kidneys working at just 10 percent capacity, his doctors urged him to start actively seeking a kidney donor rather than wait patiently on the transplant list. Little did he know that the perfect kidney donor was just a few blocks away!
Bill was leaving the Vascular Institute in Vineland, New Jersey when Uber driver Tim Letts showed up to take him home. Tim is a 31-year-old Army veteran whose friends and family say has infinite compassion. He joined the Army at 17 because of his strong drive to help others, and he’s always looking for ways to do some good in the world.
The two men started chatting, and Bill shared what he’s going through with his health.
“I kind of knew right away because there’s only so many reasons people would be at the vascular place on the weekend,” Tim said. “He looked like a guy that was probably going through some kidney failure. I could just tell because he looked like he lacked energy.”
Although they couldn’t be more different in many ways, Tim and Bill bonded over a mutual love for their churches and community groups. Tim was impressed and inspired by Bill’s great attitude. He seemed genuinely happy in spite of all the trouble he was going through. Halfway through the car ride, Tim had made up his mind.
“He says, ‘If you’ll take my name and number, I’ll give a kidney to you,'” Bill recalled. “I was shaking so hard I couldn’t even write down his name and number.”
Tim followed through with his promise. He turned out to be a perfect match, and the two underwent their surgery not long after. Bill believes it was God who placed him in Tim’s car that day, and Tim agrees. Bill also hopes other people waiting for organ donation will hear their story and keep the faith.
“I hope my story encourages some of the people that are still on dialysis and are still waiting for a kidney to keep having hope,” said Bill. “It’s hard to keep positive when you’re going through all of that. I just want people to know there’s always hope.”
Tim has since moved to Germany for work, but he and Bill still keep in touch. They share an unbreakable bond, and they’re convinced that they were meant to be a part of one another’s lives. Who can argue with fate?
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