Hockey fan gets life-saving kidney donor after holding up handmade sign seeking one at Pittsburgh Penguins game
Kelly's sign was noticed by the Penguins' social media manager, who tweeted it and soon she had her donor in 35-year-old Jeff Lynd
There are only three things that come close to hockey fan Kelly Sowatsky's love for her favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins: Kelly's fiance, her music and her desperate search for a kidney to save her life.
Three years ago, on Christmas, the 30-year-old caught an infection that turned into a blood infection, which led to kidney failure. And ever since then, Kelly's health has been deteriorating. Unfortunately for her, none of her family members were matches, and even with dialysis, her own kidneys weren't going to last much longer.
A desperate Kelly then took the support of a highlighter-yellow sign written in black block-letters that matched her Penguins jersey, and took the sign to a Pittsburgh hockey game in March. Kelly's lucky stars finally answered for it got the attention of the Penguins' social media manager.
Penguins fan: Seeking hero. pic.twitter.com/jAeA81Wny7— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 31, 2018
He later tweeted a picture of Kelly and her message: "Calling all hockey fans! I need a kidney! Kidney! Kidney! Gratefully yours, Kelly." And within minutes, she was overwhelmed with texts, calls, and messages. And the most surprising part of it all was that within two days, Kelly found her donor, 35-five-year-old Jeff Lynd.
Kelly, who used to live an impressively full life, worked as a musician for several years in Nashville before moving back to Pennsylvania to teach special needs children. But once her kidneys began to fail, she was nowhere near ready to give up her momentum to accommodate endless trips to the hospital for dialysis.
Incredible news! Per the Penguins, Kelly found a donor in Jeff Lynd, a Bethal Park native, and now has a new 99 percent functional kidney.— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) November 21, 2018
"My heart just started racing because I had this instinct that I was going to be the one that was going to be selected for it.” pic.twitter.com/XzwuKM0dIy
"It's unclear what led to it, but we think it may have been a urinary tract infection that we didn't know I had, which turned into sepsis, in a matter of hours, really," Kelly told Daily Mail. "My doctors said that the fact that I'm a small and don't have a whole lot of muscle mass is probably why I was able to stave off dialysis as long as I did," she said.
Speaking about her generous kidney donor, Kelly said, "The Twitter sign caught his eye, and he just really wanted to do something about it. He said he just felt like he was going to be the guy, and here we are a couple months later, and he is the guy." And on November 6, Tuesday, Kelly successfully received her kidney from Jeff.
Although she's still recovering from her surgery, Kelly says that she has gained a new friend in Jeff. She explained, "We have an incredibly great relationship, we've become kind of like brother and sister and talk almost every single day." Currently, the young woman is looking forward to her wedding (in May) and "can't wait to get back to a game."
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