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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — She believed it would work and it did.
“This could work. In the right place this is going to work, and it’s going to work at the Penguins’ game,” said Kelly Sowatsky last Spring.
Now, the 31-year-old from Lancaster County is ready to be discharged from UPMC Montefiore after a successful kidney transplant.
“It’s about what happened once I took it to the Penguins game, which was nothing short of a miracle,” said Sowatsky.
She calls it the sign that saved her life after she held it up at the Penguins game on March 31, 2018.
“Kelly lost her kidney function about three years ago after an episode of sepsis. She would have been on dialysis really soon. That’s why we urged her to look for a donor,” said Dr. Armando Ganoza, a transplant surgeon at UPMC.
The Penguins tweeted the photo, saying Kelly was seeking a hero, and she found him all the way in Delaware, a Penguins fan and school teacher like her, whose name is Jeff Lynd.
“I was scrolling through the Penguins’ Twitter account, and I saw her story pop up,” said Lynd.
Penguins fan: Seeking hero. pic.twitter.com/jAeA81Wny7
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 31, 2018
“Kelly immediately responded with her blood type, her phone number, where to get tested, and we retweeted that as well,” said Andi Perelman, director of New Media for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I read her story. I read the whole thing. I saw blood type A positive and I knew that I matched,” said Lynd.
Although they did not know each other, for Lynd it was an easy decision to help save Sowatsky’s life.
“Jeff would disagree with you, but he is my hero for what he did. He always says no I’m just a guy doing what I should be doing, and I have to disagree with him on that one,” said Sowatsky.
“I don’t think. I’m just a guy trying to help somebody who needed help,” said Lynd.
Their shared love of the Penguins has also provided some humor. She gave her new kidney a name.
“She named him Sidney after Sidney Crosby. They put her in room 87 twice in the hospital. Figure that one out,” said Lynd.
The Penguins are happy to have played a part in bringing them together.
“I think we see all the time fans are responding to our tweets, and the volume, and people that are looking at our content, but I never thought we would change a life and help in the way that we have with this particular story,” said Perelman.
Now, Sowatsky has not only has a second chance at life, she has a life-long friend, too.
“He’s a part of my family forever. And words can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me, and the second chance that he’s given me,” said Sowatsky.