Former police officer set to receive the gift of a lifetime - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Former police officer set to receive the gift of a lifetime

Jim McKnight receiving a kidney from his wife. (Source: WOIO) Jim McKnight receiving a kidney from his wife. (Source: WOIO)
(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
UNIONTOWN, OH (WOIO) -

After 18 years on the job, police officer Jim McKnight was forced to retire.

He says his wife Carree is his soul mate, a perfect match. He's not just saying that. She is a perfect donor match. Later this month she will give him one of her kidneys.

"I was shopping at a mall, it was Rolling Acres mall back in the late 80's. I saw a very attractive girl working behind the counter. I said I'm going to marry that girl some day,” Jim said.

"I gave my phone number and he did not call me right away. I think he waited the three days before he made the phone call,” Carree said.

Here they are, more than 20 years later. They have a love story that is an inspiration to any couple.

"A true love, soul mates," Jim explained.

Last June, Jim McNight was told he was in Stage 5 kidney failure, he had to quit his beloved job and go on dialysis.

"I was 47-years-old and just beat. I'm just tired, wore out, holding water from my kidney failure. My life was turned upside down.I thought my life was over," Jim said.

Carree stayed positive, and didn't think twice about getting tested to see if she could give her husband the gift of life.

"No hesitation. To be able to donate life to anyone is a gift. To be able to donate life to someone you love is priceless," Carree said.

After a year of dialysis and testing, they found out Carree was a perfect match.

"There's not words for me to say thank you enough," Jim said.

Now they will be connected by even more than just their love.

"I'm very grateful for what she's given me, a second chance at life," Jim said.

The surgery is at the end of the month.

Jim will have to be very careful the next few months because his immune system will be weakened by the anti-rejection pills.

They are hoping to be able to go on a big family vacation in a few months, and Jim says he'd love to be back on the force, helping others.

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