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A Canadian Man Proposed To His Girlfriend After Learning He Could Donate His Kidney To Her

They will make you believe in love again.

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Christian Willenborg and Errin Tollefson are engaged to be married, but this week their relationship went one step further. Willenborg just gave his kidney to his fiancé after learning he was a near-perfect match for an organ donation.

Christian Willenborg

The Saskatoon couple have been together for five years. During that time she has battled health problems.

The two were only on their fourth date when Tollefson revealed she was born with only one kidney, and it was failing.

“She was upfront with me right at the start," Willenborg told BuzzFeed Canada. "We had a clear connection right from the beginning and she didn’t want to hide anything.”

Willenborg said he was shocked to learn how serious her condition was because "she was so full of life."

Tollefson's father had agreed to donate a kidney to her, but that plan eventually fell through. "Unfortunately he had cancer that metastasized to his kidney, so he was unable to be her donor," Willenborg said.

Willenborg said the thought of donating his own kidney had crossed his mind early on, but it really hit him about four months into the relationship.

"We were at a family wedding and all day I thought she was off, but by the time I got back to the hotel she was quite clearly extremely ill and vomiting," he said.

Tollefson was suffering from peritonitis, a serious infection related to her dialysis.

"I can’t explain it other than you see fear in somebody’s eyes because they’re sick and they know it. At that point I thought to myself, that’s it, I have to try.”

Willenborg had a blood test shortly after that, and learned he was a near-perfect match for Tollefson. Only identical twins would have been better matched, doctors told him. "I went straight down the next day and bought the engagement ring," he said.

Christian Willenborg

"It’s one of those things where the universe seems to have brought us together. When you have that sort of confirmation I knew it was meant to be.”

Willenborg and Tollefson just had their surgeries this week, and so far it looks like the organ donation was a success. Their wedding is set for Aug. 6.

Christian Willenborg

Willenborg spoke to BuzzFeed Canada shortly after leaving the hospital, while Tollefson continues to recover for another week. Meanwhile, their story is inspiring thousands of people after they were profiled for a CTV Saskatoon news segment.

Willenborg said they both appreciate all the attention and well wishes, but he says he deserves little of the credit.

“My main concern has always been Errin," he said. "All too often the donor gets credit for being a hero, but in all honesty these recipients go through an awful lot and their lives are put on hold."

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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