"Are we dreaming?" Strangers meet in UT's operating room

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Blount County man was looking for a kidney for years until a stranger helped him out.

Thom Hobb's wife, Debbie, got a life changing message on Facebook.

"'Are we dreaming?'" said Debbie Hobbs, who is Thom's wife. "Is this for real?'"

Thom's kidney was failing. He spent about 15 hours a week with needles in his arms from dialysis.

"He is amazing," said Debbie. "He's smart. He's goofy. He's just so much fun to be around."

After years of hoping, the Hobbs were getting desperate. They put up a billboard, an add in the newspaper, and even told WVLT News about their story two years ago.

"I Googled Blount County needs kidney and Thom Hobbs came up, where they had a billboard," said Howie Day, who donated his kidney.

Howie Day was set to donate his kidney to a family friend, but that donation didn't happen.

"I told my wife that I wanted to continue doing something," said Day.

It gave the Hobbs hope.

"Getting a kidney is great," said Thom Hobbs, who received a kidney transplant. "It's like winning the lottery. Getting a kidney from a live donor is fabulous."

"I'm in shock still," said Debbie. "I mean sometimes, I think I'm dreaming because this is what we wanted for so long."

It's a gift, but Howie didn't want thanks.

"I've had two good kidneys," said Day. "I don't need them both."

He wants people to know they can donate an organ, too.

"It matters," said Day. "It's a good feeling. It's not that big of a deal. It's a few tests, and you're doing the right thing."

"This kidney is about to be mine," said Thom. "It's a new shot at life."

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