Virtua News

Transplant Patient Meets Stranger Who Saved His Life

Last year, Nebraska resident Jill Pinkelman donated her kidney to a stranger—a military veteran who needed a transplant. When Virtua recently brought the two together for the first time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The pair hugged and expressed their appreciation for one another during a special celebration last month at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. That’s where Robert “Budd” Springer had received the life-saving gift of Pinkelman’s kidney a year earlier.

“Jill didn't know me, but she wanted to donate to a veteran. That just touched my heart,” said Springer, a retired lieutenant colonel who served 36 years in the New Jersey Army National Guard.  

About 70 other veterans, staff, and supporters were moved to tears as the pair shared their inspiring story of selflessness and gratitude.

The transplant “changed my life. It’s made it so good,” said Springer. “I can travel and be with my grandkids, be with my kids.”

The two were matched by DOVE, a New Jersey-based group that connects veterans with living donors nationwide.  
Watch on CBS 3 and listen on KYW Newsradio

Learn more about Virtua Advanced Transplant and Organ Health.