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AWESOME: How a Sign at a Hockey Game Led to a Kidney Transplant

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

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In 2015, Kelly Sowatsky was diagnosed with a dangerous, progressive kidney infection. Although she recovered from the infection, Kelly, 31, found herself in dire need of a transplant after she was left with just 7% of normal kidney function.

Years passed by while Kelly sat on the waitlist, deteriorating, awaiting a miracle.

This year, however, Kelly went out on a limb to seek a donor in a bit of an unlikely place: a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game.

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While enjoying herself at the game, Kelly held a sign which read, “Calling all hockey fans! I need a kidney! Kidney! Kidney! Gratefully yours, Kelly,” with a phone number attached. The other side read, “Hey (Jake) Guentzel, I’d love a hockey stick but what I need is a kidney.”

“I thought this was my last chance to get the attention of somebody in a really big way,” she shared in a recent interview on Good Morning America.

In fact, Kelly did get people’s attention in a big way, especially after the Penguins’ team noticed her sign and posted a photo of it in a tweet which has since gone viral.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

Kelly’s phone began to blow up with calls, emails, and texts from prospective donors.

“I said what the heck, that’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened,” Sowatsky told NHL.com. “From that point on, my phone just never stopped ringing… I was speechless.”

“We had never seen a sign like that at a game. I thought, ‘we have to help if we can,’” said Andi Perelman, the team’s director of new media, of the decision to send a photographer over to Kelly. “I can tell you this, we never imagined we’d help Kelly find a donor through that tweet.”

Exposure alone is not where Kelly’s story ends, thankfully, but it was the miracle she needed to be placed in touch with another Penguins fan, Jeff Lynd.

“I saw desperation, I saw courage and I saw she needed help. I knew that my blood type matched. I had this feeling it was something I just had to do,” Lynd said.

Just two weeks ago, Kelly underwent her transplant at Pittsburgh’s Montefiore Hospital, and, according to her doctors she is recovering perfectly and has a very bright prognosis!

“He literally saved my life,” Kelly shared with NHL.com. “If you trickle it down, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the reason my life is being saved, too.”

“There are no words,” said Jackie Sowatsky, Kelly’s mother. “It’s just mindboggling for me as a parent, as her mom, her caregiver that a simple sign did so much for Kelly. And that the Pittsburgh Penguins actually caught the sign and made the information available.”

“For her to get a donor off of that sign, I get choked up every time I think about it,” she added. “It’s a miracle.”

 

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Craft Beer Customers Leave Unopened Can of Pale Ale on Bar for Fallen Soldiers

The gesture did not go unnoticed.

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craft beer

There really isn’t anything more American than craft beer. Before the experiment called “prohibition”, America was home to well over 2,500 breweries, with a vast majority of these businesses being family-operated and neighborhood-focused.  The banning of alcohol in the early 20th century brought this number down to around a half dozen or so companies, nearly all of whom converted their factories to produce medicine or dairy products in order to survive. Now, thanks to the resurgence of craft beer, Americans have their choice of nearly 4,000 smaller breweries to buy their swill from. And this doesn’t include brands like Coors, Miller, or Budweiser, who have all been gobbled up by giant, foreign conglomerates, making them no longer American-owned companies. In Atlanta, Georgia, the undisputed king of craft beer is Sweetwater – a brand usually focused on recreation and leisure. As visitors experience the brewery’s newly renovated taproom over Memorial Day Weekend, something special and spontaneous happened. To that, we simply say “cheers”.

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Uplifting

Total Strangers Gather to Celebrate Life of Korean War Vet on Memorial Day Weekend

America has not forgotten those who sacrificed it all for our freedom.

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veteran

Amid the barbecues and Budweisers, it can be difficult to temper our Memorial Day celebrations with the true reason for the remembrance. Those of us with a three day weekend are likely gassing up the boat, gathering our grill supplies, and lathering on the sunscreen in anticipation of Memorial Day – a holiday that is far too often relegated to the realm of “hey it’s summer”-style shenanigans. We mustn’t ever forget why we have the day off, however. Memorial Day is truly a day of solemn reflection on those we’ve lost in the line of American military duty – a fact that is all too often overshadowed by these celebrations. But not for the fine people of Ohio, who showed the world what compassion is all about this weekend. A public call for mourners to attend the Ohio funeral of an unaccompanied 90-year-old Korean War veteran Saturday resulted in an overwhelming response. “It being Memorial Day weekend it was the right thing to do to come up and honor his life,” Suzanne Koehne told Fox 19. She attended the funeral in Cincinnati after driving nearly 100 miles to get there from Louisville, Kentucky. The turnout was incredible. An estimated 400 strangers, like Koehne, showed up to pay final respects to Army veteran Hezekiah Perkins whose only family, a daughter, couldn’t make it because of poor health, Fox 19 and other media reported. The gesture is just another reminder of the inherent greatness of the American public, and their reverence for those who sacrificed it all for our freedoms.

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