Sask. man donates kidney to his fiancée after finding out they are perfect match
Christian Willenborg bought engagement ring after learning his fiancée was a match
A Saskatoon man will not just share his life with his fiancée, he has also shared his kidney.
Christian Willenborg donated one of his kidneys to his fiancée, Errin Tollefson, after finding out they were a scientifically perfect match.
"It probably started five years ago when we met," said Willenborg. "It was on probably the third or fourth date, I'll never forget, she asked, 'Tell me something I don't know about you' and I told her, 'I still think it's going to rain when you step on a spider.'"
When you see that fear in somebody's eyes that you love and you care about, I think you are compelled to act.-Christian Willenborg , kidney donor
Her response was that she was on kidney dialysis and needed a donor.
"Here was a girl who I had known for five years, was so full of life, never showed anything to the outer world and she needed a kidney," Willenborg said.
Tollefson's father had passed away from cancer a few years earlier.
"Once I found that out, I think it was almost more incentive to act," he said.
People who are on kidney dialysis are more subject to getting an infection.
Willenborg said it wasn't until he saw her get sick the first time that he decided that he was going to go get tested, to see if he was suitable to be a donor.
"When you see that fear in somebody's eyes that you love and you care about, I think you are compelled to act," he said.
"When the doctor told us we were a perfect match, I actually went out and bought an engagement ring."
The night of the surgery, on-call doctors were still asking if he was a family member of hers because of the striking match.
"Twins are always a perfect match but for two non-family members to match nearly perfectly is relatively rare," Willenborg said.
The surgery took place Feb. 4 and Tollefson is still recovering in hospital. Willenborg stayed by her side for four days.
Willenborg called Tollefson on Wednesday afternoon to check on her condition.
He asked what they should do for Valentine's Day.
"Oh, I have some plans up my sleeve," Tollefson said. "It is a little surprise, you'll see."
Willenborg smiled and said, "This is what I mean when I say I have a remarkable fianceé. It just blows my mind that she thinks of this stuff."
The couple is planning their wedding for August this year.
To find information about how to be a living donor visit the Saskatoon Health Region website on donations.