Baseball fans in Chicago, Illinois, have long been divided over the city’s two teams. You’re either a White Sox fan or a Cubs fan; you can’t be both.
But for a lifelong Cubs supporter named Bridgett Kolls, this rivalry didn’t extend to what really mattered off the baseball field!
Bridgett has been living with stage 5 kidney failure for years. Her condition got so bad that she had to spend four hours hooked up to a dialysis machine to clean her blood three days a week. The treatments left her exhausted, depressed, and bereft of her usual optimism.
While she was on the transplant list, she also tried to get the word out for a living donation every chance she got.
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When her uncle gave her a pair of tickets to see her beloved team play at Wrigley Field, she decided to pull out all the stops to get noticed. She made a sign asking everyone for help finding a kidney, contacted the Cubs organization to let them know what was going on, and hoped for the best.
At the game that day, Bridgett was approached by a member of the Cubs staff. They wanted to help her find a kidney, so they took her picture and put it on the Jumbotron before tweeting out a plea for support.
Within hours, Bridgett started getting texts and calls from people volunteering to get tested! One of the strangers who saw the Cubs’ tweet was Thomas Alessio, a staunch White Sox fan.
Thomas saw what was going on and immediately sent her a message. He went to get tested, but then he was called away for work for several months. When he finally got back to Bridgett, he had amazing news: He was a match!
“I had a best friend who died from cancer in high school, and he dealt with it for like seven years,” Thomas explained. “I think I kind of understand what it feels like to be helpless. So I just kind of went for it.”
The transplant surgery had to be rescheduled when COVID-19 hit the U.S. hard in March, but the two of them were finally able to have the operation in July!
Both Thomas and Bridgett made it through the procedure with flying colors and recovered quickly.
Bridgett is now off dialysis and back to living her best life! She said her depression has disappeared and her optimistic attitude is back in full force — and it’s all thanks to Thomas and her Chicago Cubs!
Cubs player Ian Happ has invited both Thomas and Bridgett to celebrate with the team at Wrigley Field next year! Clearly, some rivalries are worth setting aside!
Share this story to thank Thomas for his selfless decision to donate an organ and change a stranger’s life forever.
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