‘I married a stranger who saved my life’

On the brink of death, Heather Dempsey, 28, was offered the gift of life by a stranger.

Sitting in the restaurant, I shivered with excitement. What would he be like? I wondered.

I wasn’t on a first date though, I was about to meet the stranger who’d offered to save my life.

It started in 2013 when I felt constantly tired and had aches all over my body.

A biopsy of my liver was taken and I was diagnosed with stage four liver disease. Blood tests showed it was due to a form of autoimmune hepatitis.

I was put on the organ donor list for a liver transplant. But three month’s later, I became jaundiced and the whites of my eyes turned neon yellow.

‘You might only have two months to live,’ a doctor said. As a last resort, the doctor explained, I could also take half a liver from a live donor.

Everyone I knew got tested. Then in early January 2015
I got a text from Jack. ‘Chris, a guy
from my
work, has
offered to get
tested to see if
he’s a match’, it read.

(Credit: Supplied)

A couple of weeks later, Chris, 38, rang me.
‘I’ve passed all of the tests. I’m going to be your donor!’ he said.

Deciding to meet for lunch, I felt so nervous when I spotted him at the restaurant. Luckily, we got on really easily. When he mentioned he was single, I felt a spark of attraction race through me.

As the weeks went on, Chris and I met a few more times and hung out together. One night, he came to my house to watch a movie. Suddenly I felt myself leaning in to kiss him on the lips and he kissed me back.

Part of me wondered if the emotion of the transplant was affecting my feelings, but another part felt like we were meant to be together. Looking at Chris,
I saw not only the
person who’d saved my life but someone I wanted by my side forever.

Eight months after our surgery, Chris asked me to marry him.

‘Yes!’ I beamed. Every day I’m so thankful for finding Chris. Not only did he save my life, but he’s made me the happiest woman alive.

Read the full story in this week’s issue of that’s life, out now.

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