Pittsburgh Penguins fan Kelly Sowatsky can thank a hockey game for helping save her life.
She was in dire need of a kidney transplant and was on a long waiting list when she went to a Penguins game on March 31 and brought a sign advertising for donors that include a phone number contact.
According to the Penguins’ website, Sowatsky, 31, had done the same thing at a New Jersey Devils game two days earlier.
But in Pittsburgh, the team’s director of new media, Andi Perelman, noticed the sign, sent a social media photographer to take the woman’s picture and posted it on the Penguins’ Twitter site after getting her permission.
The sign drew plenty of attention and caught the eye of fellow Penguins fan Jeff Lynd, 35, who lives in Delaware.
“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,” Lynd told the website.
He ended up being a match, and the transplant took place on Nov. 6 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Both are fine, and Sowatsky, whose kidney function had dropped to 9 percent at the time of the operation, is functioning at 99 percent.
She calls the new organ Sidney the Kidney after Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
“There’s no words to really express the gratitude and the way I feel about what (Lynd) did for me because he literally saved my life,” Sowatsky told the website. “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 … “
Follow Mike Brehm on Twitter @ByMikeBrehm