Marine Sgt. Jacob Chadwick, 23, an Iraq war veteran who recently underwent a life-saving kidney transplant, received the organ from an unexpected source — 24-year-old fellow soldier Lt. Patrick Wayland.

The two men didn’t know each other, but after Wayland suffered a fatal heart attack while swimming in flight gear during training on August 1, Wayland’s family sought out the people it felt was “most deserving” of Patrick’s vital organs.

Chadwick, who has rare Type O blood, had been told it could take years to find a donor match, so the gift from the Wayland family was truly an unexpected blessing.

“It was a joyful time, but at the same time we knew that it was at the cost of somebody’s life,” said Sgt. Chadwick’s wife, Victoria.

The couple hopes to someday speak to the Wayland family.

“I don’t know them personally, I don’t even know much about them,” Sgt. Chadwick said. “But what they did was pretty incredible so for that reason I’d love to meet them … A piece of their son is keeping me alive. Eventually, I think they should get to know the person who their son’s kidney went to.”

[via Daily Mail]

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