RAPID CITY, S.D. — Amber Linneweber has been working with the Proutys at their pottery business for three years but have known them for many more.
She says, “2008 we were neighbors, and we just became really good friends and we’ve just been in contact and ever since. So Joe is kinda like a big brother to me. I always thought of him as a big brother. You know someone that you can banter with…be silly with. So he’s just family. They’re not just friends or family.”
Amber, Joe and Hester
When Joe’s wife Hester put the call out on social media for a kidney donor for Joe, Amber had a revelation.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I pray that someone gonna step up.’ I’m like, ‘oh wait, that’s me – I should step up you know, ’cause he kept getting people but they just weren’t matches with him…I’m like [it] tugged on my heart. I’m like, OK talk to my family, and they’re like you should do this…and I was like I’m going to be positive and try this out.”
That positivity is taking them all the way to the O.R. The date of the kidney transplant is another sign of fate.
Joe adds, “September 14 is my wife and I’s anniversary – 25 years together. My grandparents wedding anniversary, her parents anniversary. And I believe it’s (Hester’s) aunt’s birthday, so there’s a lot going on on that day, so Mayo gave me like eight dates to choose from and it didn’t matter to me. So I called Amber and I gave her the dates and I told her to pick one and she picked September 14, and I just said OK – I didn’t tell her what the significance was of it. That’s just the date she chosen. It’s meant to be.”
Joe is looking forward to a healthier future and getting back 12 hours a week to his life that he now spends in dialysis.
“It’s finally going to happen and yeah, my life is going to pretty much go back to normal. So yeah, I was super excited. Just can’t wait. I want to get it done as quick as possible,” Joe said.
Amber encourages everyone to think about being a donor, saying, “There’s just so many people on the kidney transplant list, so if you have a feeling in your heart warming in your heart, see if you’re a match for someone health fitness. Even if you don’t know him, you could save a life a child’s life, anybody. There’s a lot on the list. Yeah, for sure, yeah, changed somebody’s life for the better.”
Amber, Hester & Joe