A 31-year-old who desperately needed a life-saving organ transplant took her search to the cheering section at a hockey game earlier this year. Now, months later, she’s thriving with her new kidney.
Kelly Sowatsky was diagnosed with an infection that turned into septicemia back in 2015, leaving her kidney at only seven percent function, reported NHL.com. She was placed on a donor list, but after years passed, she took matters into her own hands.
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“I thought this was my last chance to get the attention of somebody in a really big way,” she told Good Morning America.
Sowatsky came armed with a homemade sign, holding it up during the game, according to NHL.com. “Calling all hockey fans! I need a kidney! Gratefully yours, Kelly,” the sign told fellow hockey fans, also providing a phone number.
It got the attention of the team, who tweeted out the photo. A fellow fan, Jeff Lynd of Delaware, saw it on social media and reached out to her.
“I saw desperation, I saw courage and I saw she needed help,” Lynd told Good Morning America. “I knew that my blood type matched. I had this feeling it was something I just had to do.”
The two met, discovered that they were in fact a match, and two weeks ago underwent the transplant at UPMC Montefiore Hospital in the Pennsylvania city.
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Her doctor, Amit Tevar, told Good Morning America that “Jeff had an excellent kidney to donate. Kelly should do very well for a very, very long time with that kidney.”
Sowatsky, who is a teacher, told NHL.com she still has “no words” to express her gratitude toward Lynd, 35.
“He literally saved my life,” Sowatsky said. “And the doctors, too. If you trickle it down, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the reason my life is being saved, too. If it weren’t for (Perelman) and for me loving the Penguins … “
Lynd is more modest, though.
He told NHL.com, “I see it as a guy helping somebody out. She needed help and I was able to do it. If it wasn’t me, it would have been somebody else.”