A mother of three will now live to see her children grow after the kindness of a complete stranger saved her life.
Colorado resident Melinda Ray, 35, was suffering from a genetic disease that was rapidly destroying her liver when a desperate Facebook plea for help made its way to a perfect match.
“We had just had candidate after candidate being ruled out, and symptoms were progressing. They were progressing fast,” Ray’s husband, James Ray, told ABC News. “The days were getting harder.”
San Diego resident Robin Ihnfeldt, who is originally from Denver, had learned about Ray’s dire condition through her best friend, who is Ray’s sister. Once she told her husband, 47-year-old former Navy SEAL Jeff Bramstedt, that Ray had been unable to find a match, he replied, “I’d do it” without hesitation, Ihnfeldt said.
“He’s always been an amazing man,” Ihnfeldt said of her husband. “He hears bullets and he runs into these situations.”
Melinda Ray wasn't sure she'd live to see 2018. Then a stranger stepped forward with a special gift to save her life. As the year comes to an end it's great to know there are people like Jeff Bramstedt around. https://t.co/wvVufSJTIm @ABCWorldNews #AmericaStrong pic.twitter.com/v0bF552IdS
— Clayton Sandell (@Clayton_Sandell) December 27, 2017
Bramstedt is now a skydiving instructor and Hollywood stuntman for movies like “Iron Man” and “Deepwater Horizon” as well as the founder of Life of Valor, an organization dedicated to impacting the lives of men with the Word of God, according to the website.
God is on the move. He is gathering an army of men to stand up and be counted in these last days. Life of Valor is a men's movement to retake the ground the has been given up to our enemy. We are building that team, will you join us? Are you that man?This is a video recap of our recently held men's event in Denver, Colorado. If you are interested in finding out more about joining our movement or hosting an event in your city please visit our website www.lifeofvalor.com.
Posted by Jeff Bramstedt on Friday, August 11, 2017
Bramstedt’s turned out to be a perfect match, and his faith may be a huge reason on why he agreed to the 10-hour surgery, despite doctors at UCHealth University of Colorado informing him that the procedure could be risky.
“I think I probably considered it for all of half a second before I said, ‘I’m up let’s do this,'” Bramstedt said.
Three weeks ago, Jeff, a former Navy SEAL, traveled from San Diego to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. He came to donate his liver to Melinda, whom he had never met. Story via @ABCWorldNews @Clayton_Sandell https://t.co/J3gosueMJ2
— UCHealth (@uchealth) December 28, 2017
Bramstedt then traveled more than 1,000 miles from California to Aurora, Colorado, and a surgical team successfully transferred 60 percent of his liver to Ray.
Although it’ll be several weeks before Bramstedt will be medically cleared to jump out of an airplane again, he said he feels as if he gained a “little sister” through the experience.
“She gets extended years,” he said. “She gets to raise her kids, to be the mother that she’s always wanted to be and live out life with her husband.”
Bramstedt also urged other healthy veterans to consider volunteering for an organ transplant for someone who desperately needs it.
“You’re going to change someone’s life,” he said. “It could be the difference between life and death for somebody.”
Thank you for all your prayers, support and words of encouragement regarding the story on ABC News. It was truly a…
Ray said the experience has taught her “great hope and humanity,” adding that for some time, she wasn’t sure how long she would be able to continue her role as mother and wife.
“Just the fact that someone would put their life on hold for me and stop their life and save mine, you know, it meant everything to me,” she said.
(H/T: ABC News)