02/21/2011 at 01:00 AM EST
What is the best way to win a man's heart? Give him a kidney! Scott Jones, 42, was suffering from renal failure in 2009 and undergoing daily dialysis, when he bumped into his teenage sweetheart Tina, 39, at a gas station in central Utah. "I was just waiting to die," says Scott, who suffers from a rare form of lupus, an autoimmune disease. But as they slowly rekindled their friendship, the couple-who both are divorced and have children from their first marriages-were thrilled to discover that the "sparks just flew," says Scott. When Tina learned that none of Scott's friends or relatives was a suitable kidney donor, she insisted on being tested. "I had a strong hunch I could help him," says the former waitress from Salt Lake City, who went on to give Scott, a former city employee, a new kidney last September. And the couple's first stop after his release from the hospital? A Las Vegas wedding chapel. This year the newlyweds plan to celebrate Valentine's Day-and Scott's new lease on life-over a romantic dinner. Says Scott: "I've gone from having no hope at all to being the happiest guy on the planet."