Chicago baseball

Crosstown Connection: White Sox Fan Donates Kidney to Cubs Fan

A 32-year-old Chicago resident donated his kidney to a Cubs fan after seeing a post about her search for a donor on social media

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Chicago baseball fans are arguably some of the most loyal — from devoted North Siders to committed White Sox fans.

But when it counts, which side you're on doesn't matter.

Such was the case when a 32-year-old Chicago resident learned about a Cubs fan in need of a kidney. As the story goes, Thomas Alessi answered the call from Cubs fan Bridget Kolls, who spent three years in kidney failure.

Both Kolls and Alessi, as well as their doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, shared their experience during a virtual news conference Friday.

Kolls, 23, was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2017, and two years later, she felt the need to cast a wider net on her search for a donor, according to a news release.

So, she went to a Cubs game in May of 2019 with a homemade sign that read “This lil’ Cubbie needs a kidney.”

The poster also included a phone number for fans to call and learn how they could help.

With the help of the Cubs, Kolls and her sign were shown on the jumbotron during the game, the news release stated.

"I was also thinking, well, if you're not the right blood type, maybe this will inspire someone to — they're already here — try to donate to somebody else," she said, recounting her mission to find a donor.

Numerous fans shared Kolls' plea on social media, where it was noticed by Alessi.

“I saw a social media post from someone that is a Cubs fan and they shared it saying ‘Life is Bigger than Baseball,'" he said.

The two eventually learned they were a match, and surgery was scheduled in March, just before the baseball season.

But things didn't go as planned.

After two delays because of the coronavirus, Bridget finally received her new kidney in July.

“Now, I’m just...I have so much more energy, I feel healthier off of dialysis," she said.

The 23-year-old Lombard resident said she's especially grateful to her new, favorite White Sox fan for having the heart to help a Cubs fan.

"Thomas, thank you for everything and letting me live again," she said during the video news conference. "Everyone in my life is happy because of you.”

Both baseball fans also got a big treat Friday.

Cubs Outfielder Ian Happ surprised both with tickets for next year's Crosstown Series, as well as tickets for their families and doctors.

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