PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was an organ match made in Super Bowl heaven, despite that these two football fans cheer for rival teams. On the cusp of this weekend’s Patriots-Eagles matchup, a Birds fanatic is now thriving since receiving a kidney donation from a Patriots fan.
It all started when die-hard Eagles fan Patti Pizzimenti needed a kidney transplant due to a hereditary disease.
She was on a transplant waiting list for two years until her daughter-in-law donated a kidney to a stranger through a transplant exchange program at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.
“They took her kidney, put in someone who was in dire need. And I got an altruistic donor’s kidney which was a man who was in the area who decided to give. Because he had such a great life, he decided to give something back. I got his kidney,” Pizzimenti said.
Her donor was John Houlihan, a huge Patriots fan from Connecticut.
Pizzimenti is an Eagles fan living in Patriots country and her transplant was just a month out from the Eagles’ big Super Bowl LII win over New England.
Putting aside her gratitude for the life-saving kidney, she wanted to tease Houlihan a little bit.
“My T-shirt said, ‘I can’t believe I took a kidney from a Patriots fan.’ And his said, ‘I can’t believe I donated a kidney to an Eagles fan,'” Pizzimenti said. “When I gave it to him, his jaw dropped. He says it looks like you got part of my amusement in that kidney.”
The pair are still in touch to this day. They’ve already texted each other about this Sunday’s game, sharing some friendly smack talk about their teams, and checked on each other.
“I’m great now, I’m perfect, wonderful and ready to rock and roll,” Pizzimenti said. “If I can only get Eagles tickets now.”
This particular program at Yale is only for living kidney donors who are donating on behalf of someone who is in dire need of a kidney. This chain, as the hospital calls it, has led to dozens of life-saving transplants.