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Nebraska woman's selfless act saves New Jersey veteran with kidney donation

Nebraska woman's kidney donation saves the life of New Jersey veteran
Nebraska woman's kidney donation saves the life of New Jersey veteran 02:23

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A woman from Nebraska is celebrated in Camden for being a stranger who turned into a lifesaver. On Friday, a grateful family from Cape May met the woman who donated a kidney not knowing who the recipient would be.

Budd Springer has a second chance at life after a kidney transplant that came from a stranger.

"Just to know that there's somebody out there that is so giving and it's just such a blessing there's wonderful people in this world," Springer said.

It's Springer's service in the New Jersey Army National Guard that inspired Jill Pinkelman to become a living donor for an organization called DOVE, living kidney donation for veterans. 

"I mean, veterans, people in the military, they give up part of their life to devote to protecting us, protecting our country," Pinkelman said.

Pinkelman came to New Jersey from her home in Nebraska. A life side-lined by kidney failure, finding a match with a living donor is beyond lucky.

"There are 92,000 people in the U.S. waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant and unfortunately many will die before they get that call," one doctor said.

Now a year after the transplant at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Springer has a token gift for Pinkelman, taffy from the Jersey Shore.

"I always describe her as my angel," Springer said.

Pinkelman, who's an EMT, said people have been good to her and she wanted to give back.

"It's so heartwarming. I'm glad you're doing great. I'm just, you know, happy that I was able to make a difference," Pinkelman said. 

For Springer, it means more fishing and spending time with his wife and their 10 grandchildren. All made possible by their newfound angel.

"There's no words that I could ever say to express how much I appreciate and love her even though I don't know her," Lorraine Springer, Budd Springer's wife, said.

Those families are now forever linked and encouraging everyone to consider becoming a living donor which is safe for most people and better for the recipient.

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