SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A kidney donor and the recipient of that life saving gift are now set to have surgery on Monday at Duke University Medical Center.
Former pro wrestler and gospel singer Don Herbert is in Stage 5 of kidney failure, and urgently needs a transplant, and a few months ago a local pastor stepped forward to make the sacrifice.
"I'm pretty much at the end of my rope with my kidneys, they're shutting down completely," Herbert told WBTV.
"And I wanted to give him a chance at life, I wanted to give him hope," said Reverend Tim Jones.
That need and their shared faith has brought these men together. Their meeting was unlikely. Don was visiting yard sales with his wife and passed by Pastor Tim's church, Mercy Independent Baptist on the corner of Pump Station Road and West C Street in Kannapolis.
"We were actually doing a fundraiser for our church, we're small, and Don just happened to come by," Jones recalled.
"I wasn't even going to get out of the car, but I heard music coming out of the church so I got out," added Herbert.
The two talked and made an instant connection. Then Pastor Tim noticed saw something on Don's Facebook page.
"And it basically said they had been to Duke and had gotten some bad news," Jones added.
It was a plea for help from Don's wife, be it in the form of money, or a kidney donation.
"Transplant would be definitely a permanent fix unless you had any complications with rejection," said Herbert, adding that the only other option would be dialysis treatments for four hours every other day. He said that would end his days on the road as a gospel singer.
Pastor Tim felt a calling.
"I prayed for peace with it and a couple of days later God gave me peace," Jones said. "I told my wife we're going to do this."
"There's over like 90,000 people in the United States that's waiting on kidney transplants," Herbert noted.
So now they share this journey that began by chance two months ago. Don is grateful, Pastor Tim is confidant.
"Nobody wants to help anybody anymore, at least you think, but I'm glad that there are still some people that are willing to help," Herbert added.
"It's scary, I work in surgery, I deal with things like this everyday. There's always risk but I know who I believe in and I know that God's got a plan, so that part doesn't worry me," said Jones.
Since WBTV first reported this story in December, the two men have endured several medical tests to make sure that the donation would be a success.
There have also been fundraisers, including a gospel concert, to help raise money for the ongoing medical expenses.