Man donates liver to stranger, marries her 2 years later: 'It felt surreal'

An Illinois woman was looking for a transplant when, along the way, she found love and a new life with a generous stranger, whom she would not have met had he not decided to donate his liver.

"The whole situation felt surreal," Christopher Dempsey, 38, told "I started out just wanting to help someone and I found love in the process, and I couldn't be happier."

Dempsey, from Frankfort, was at work when he overheard a colleague talking about his cousin who desperately needed a liver transplant.

Heather Krueger, now 27, had been battling stage four liver disease for two years when doctors told her she would only have a 50 percent chance of surviving two more months without a transplant.

"I just thought to myself that if it were me or someone in my family, I would want someone to step up," Dempsey said.

So he went and got tested, and found out they were a match -- in more ways than one.

The pair met over lunch that same week so he could tell her the good news in person.

"I remember thinking when I met her how good she looked for someone who was so sick, and talking with her, she never complained about her situation," he recalled. "She had a smile on her face the whole time."

Through different fundraisers to raise money for hospital bills, they started to get to know each other better, and eventually began dating.

Ten months later, Dempsey proposed.

Now, less than two years after the transplant, he and Krueger were married.

"I don't think we would have ever met if it wasn't for the donation," Dempsey said.