The Perfect Match: Kidney Transplant Leads to Marriage

organ transplant donor marries
Photo Credit: Chelsea Clair/Facebook

All of us newlyweds promise to love our spouses in sickness and in health, but one Indiana couple's amazing story was actually born from the ultimate sacrifice: Donating an organ to a stranger.

Chelsea Clair, 26, met Kyle Froelich, 23, at a car show four years ago. He was diagnosed with a fatal kidney disorder when he was 12 years old, and doctors estimated that the then-senior in high school only had one more year to live unless he could obtain a successful kidney transplant. Many of his family members and friends were tested, but none proved to be a perfect match.

That is, until he met Clair, who heard his story through a family friend, and declared on the spot that she would give him her kidney. Froelich had guarded himself from getting his hopes up — according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, only slightly more than 50% of people on the national waiting list receive an organ within five years — but a month later, test results gave them the green light to move forward with a transplant.

Clair told ABC News that her father passed away from cancer having never received the bone marrow transplant that could have potentially saved his life, so she felt a personal connection to Froelich. "I just felt like I would have wanted somebody to step up [for my father], so I just wanted to help him," she says.

The surgery went exceptionally well and afterwards, they began dating. Froelich realized he literally couldn't live without his donor, telling The Indianapolis Star that they share "a bond that no one else, unless they've done it, can know. She's my best friend." In turn, Clair jokes that "he's carrying around my kidney...I have to make sure he takes care of that."

Each year, they celebrate "Sparkypalooza" on the anniversary of the transplant, in honor of the life-changing decision that Clair made (they've affectionately dubbed her kidney "Sparky"). Clair has a six-year-old daughter, Aby, from a previous relationship, and she gave birth to their son, Wyatt, 11 months ago.

On Oct. 12, the pair tied the knot in front of 50 guests at the Danville Conservation Club in Indiana, the same place where they first met. Instead of promising to love one another "in sickness and in health" (after all, they'd already been there and done that!), they pledged to "offer you my hand, my heart and my soul, as I know they will be safe with you."

organ donor transplant married
Photo Credit: Chelsea Clair/Facebook

Congratulations to the happy newlyweds!

—Stefania Sainato