Imagine you’re walking down the street on a hot summer’s day. You pass by yard after yard where people are out mowing the grass. Then something catches your eye.
A husband and wife are in their backyard; only the wife is mowing, and the husband is just standing and watching. You might think that the man in this situation is just being lazy and avoiding his responsibility, but the story behind the picture couldn’t be more different.
In 2017, Adam Bosler, of Old Monroe, Missouri, shared this picture of his friends, Jessica and Ryan Armistead. Bosler asked people viewing the image to look further than the surface. “What you see, is a woman pushing a lawn mower with her husband beside her. Some of you may question that.”
In fact, as Bosler wrote, “Ryan goes for dialysis 3 times a week pending a kidney transplant. As a police officer and active member of his community he strives STILL to be what every man should be.” While Ryan Armistead was out mowing the lawn, the strain of the effort got to his body, weakened by a failing kidney, and Jessica stepped right in to help him out.
Bosler noted that “even after surrendering the mower, much against his will, he still walked beside his wife as she took over the task.” People who saw the picture were incredibly moved by the love of husband and wife, and expressed sympathy for his struggle with kidney disease and the long wait for a transplant.
"What you see, is a woman pushing a lawn mower with her husband beside her. Some of you may question that. What you don'…
Ryan Armistead was not only a loving husband and father but also a member of the Old Monroe Police Department, helping keep the community safe. There was just one problem. His kidneys weren’t filtering his food and drink properly, meaning that he had dangerous levels of toxins left in his system.
For four long years, he was on dialysis several times a week but still showed up to work every day despite the disease. For years, Armistead was on the waiting list for a new kidney. It’s a terrible place to be in. As Armistead told Lincoln News, “Right now at hospitals in St. Louis, they have an average of 200–300 people a year trying to be living donors. Out of that number, only about 60–80 make it.”
Gregory loves when we get to visit daddy at dialysis. Ryan’s at dialysis Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 4 hours each time. Anyone is welcome to come visit him while he’s here he loves the company!!
Throughout the whole process though, he had the unfailing love of his wife and son Gregory, the rest of his family, and members of the force. One of his cousins even volunteered to donate one of her kidneys to him, but as he told Lincoln News, the doctors “decided if they took one away it would probably be too much stress on her other kidney.”
Then one day, an angel came in to the family’s life. Abbie Dunkle, from Illinois, read about Ryan’s story on the Facebook page “A Kidney for Ryan Schneider-Armistead.” Dunkle knew firsthand how devastating kidney disease could be as she had lost one of her friends to it during childhood.
Dunkle is a mom herself, so she knew exactly what it meant to Armistead’s family to be afraid that they might lose their dad. After months of testing to make sure they were compatible, they got the go-ahead. Ryan and Jessica Armistead couldn’t hold back the tears when they got the incredible Facebook message from Abbie.
“We just broke down and started crying because we were thinking this thing was never going to happen,” Armistead told Lincoln News.
Both Abbie and Ryan are doing amazing! This has been one amazing blessing and so happy to have a life long extended family with Abbie and her family!! 💙💙 lots of love!
After many surgeries, Armistead has been feeling better than ever, and Abbie has become “extended family” for them. Just as Adam Bosler’s incredible lawnmowing post showed, it was love and sacrifice that kept the Armisteads going in their darkest hours.
As Bosler wrote on his original post, “no matter what, they’re side by side, helping one another and never leaving the other one behind. If there’s anything I can learn from these good friends, it’s the loyalty they put forth together.”