by: Patrick Elwood Posted: Aug 20, 2020 / 06:44 PM CDT / Updated: Aug 20, 2020 / 06:44 PM CDT
CHICAGO — The cross-town rivalry of between the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs resumes Friday. But one White Sox fan recently put humanity over fandom by donating a kidney to save the life of a Cubs fan.
Bridget Kolls was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2017. She came up with the idea to make a mass appeal during a Cubs vs. Marlins game to find a kidney donor.
“I was like, ‘This is it,’” she said. “I’m tired of dialysis I’m making a sign and make it super pretty and worth it.”
The sign read, “This little Cubbie needs a kidney.” It appeared on television screens across the country and on social media. The word was out and the calls started coming in.
In time, after screenings and tests of potential donors, Kolls got word. She had long awaited and that news came on a holiday in November — there was a match!
“It was on Thanksgiving and we were about to go to my uncle’s house — the uncle that actually supplied us with the good Cubs tickets,” she said.
The person who answered the call for help was Tom Alessio, who just happened to be a die-hard Sox fan. Alessio had been a giver for years, so a kidney was the next step in his creed of giving of one’s self to help others.
“When I was 18 I was on the bone marrow transplant list,” he said. “And I donated plasma through college.”
A transplant surgery was performed in July at Advocate Christ Medical Center Hospital. Now, the two feel great.
“I’m very thankful and if I could tell him every day that’s would I would do — thank him every day.”
Despite being a huge Sox fan, Alessio’s father actually played for the Cubs in the minors. Kolls said that even though a rival fan donated a kidney, she has no plans to switch teams.
“When I go to Jewel, they have the Cubs and Sox peanuts and I do buy both now,” she said.
The two have met and their families will meet after the pandemic subsides.
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