Woman turns out to be organ match for her stepfather, saving his life

Bill Schultz definitely didn't want to go out with a woman who'd already been married once, much less someone with a child. But in 1982 he met Pam and his prejudices vanished. Bill fell head over heels in love. And when he met Pam's two-year-old daughter, Andrea, he knew from the first moment that there was going to be a heartfelt connection between then.

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"Everything I had said before went totally out the window. Even though she wasn't biologically my daughter... almost from minute one, I couldn't help but love this little girl," Bill says today.

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Bill and Pam got married and were living happily together in Missouri. But over time Bill, who'd always been very physically active and athletic, noticed that he had less and less energy and was constantly exhausted. Finally, he went to the doctor.

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The diagnosis was daunting: Bill had leukemia and needed to start chemotherapy right away. The treatment went well: for 18 months, Bill seemed to have made it through and he was feeling good. Until the cancer came back. He received a stem cell donation and was able to beat the cancer again, but the strong medication he had to take damaged Bill's kidneys so severely that they failed. Now he urgently needed a kidney transplant. 

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“Problem was, none of my five siblings were the right blood type for me since my stem cell transplant...changed my blood type and DNA,” he explained.

Andrea, Bill's step-daughter, wanted from the start to be tested, in case she might be a potential kidney donor for him. But Bill's insurance didn't cover that many tests and anyway the doctors thought it was too unlikely that she'd be a fit. Andrea insisted on the test though, and the result blew everyone away: she was a perfect match to give Bill one of her kidneys.

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When the doctors began the grueling operation, they made a further discovery that they could hardly believe. Andrea's kidney had one additional artery, one that usually doesn't exist. That made her kidney exceptionally well-suited to be a donor organ, better than a normal one. "It's as if your kidney was meant to be donated," Andrea recounted the doctors saying.

Both Bill and Andrea made it through their operations well and recovered quickly. With Andrea's help, Bill was able to vanquish cancer once again. He's now enjoying life to the full and spending a lot of time with family — especially with his grandchildren, since Andrea has meanwhile become the proud mother of three. 

Watch the whole amazing story of this father and daughter here:

Three decades ago he embraced as his daughter a little girl he'd never thought he wanted. Now the grown woman she became was able — against all odds — to save his life. True family is about more than just being related. The main ingredient is love.

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