A kidney for Kelly: local middle school teacher makes life saving donation
WICOMICO Co., Md. – A Pittsburgh Penguins fan in desperate need of a kidney was recently donated one by a fellow fan who works in Wicomico County, and now their story is capturing the hearts of hockey fans across the country.
Months ago, Kelly Sowatsky took a leap of faith and brought a neon sign with her to a Pittsburgh penguins hockey game. The sign read: “Calling all hockey fans! I need a Kidney! Kidney! Kidney! Gratefully yours, Kelly.”
The Penguins spotted the neon sign, and sent a photographer down to take her picture and posted it to their social media.
Luckily for Kelly, her sign caught the attention of the perfect match.
On a quiet Easter morning, Jeff Lynd, a Wicomico Middle School teacher and avid Penguins fan was scrolling through his favorite team’s twitter feed,when he came across the call for help.
Lynd said, “I was just scrolling like this, and then I found it and I just read the story and I fell in love with it and I just I started doing research on it and I just had this instinctual feeling that I was going to be the one selected for it.”
In that photo was Kelly Sowatsky, a fellow teacher and penguins fan, who was looking for a miracle.
Sowatsky said, “I’ve been told a living donor kidney will last longer, so that was another reason I decided to search for a living donor.”
Jeff decided then and there he wanted to help, so he took a shot and sent Sowatsky a Facebook message.
Lynd said, “I messaged her and we started talking and you know we went through the process and her best friend was supposed to be her donor and she got bumped a week before surgery so I got the call and I was next up.”
Next man up, and the perfect line mate.
The skater, or rather, the donor Sowatsky needed, a new friend who shared more than just a kidney.
Sowatsky said, “The more he and I talked, the more I learned about him. I learned that he was also a school teacher, I learned just how deep his love of the Penguins really ran.”
Lynd said, “We pretty much talk every day. We are texting or talking on the phone, I mean, I just talked to her a little bit ago.”
Kelly and Jeff underwent surgery three weeks ago, and they say everything went well and that they are both feeling good.
While Kelly continues to recover, Jeff has returned to teaching, showing his students that trusting your gut and looking out for others can be like lighting the lamp when the game is on the line.
Sowatsky said, “I just feel like she needed help and I helped her.”
Kelly and Jeff are scheduled to be honored at a Penguins game around December 27th.
On top of that, a charity game to help Kelly pay for medical costs will be held on Saturday, January 26th at the Regency Ice Rink in Pennsylvania, where people can pay 5 dollars to watch or pay 150 dollars to skate with 4 former NHL players.