Cross-town rivals forever linked: White Sox fan donates kidney to Cubs fan

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Saturday, August 22, 2020
Cross-town rivals forever linked: White Sox fan donates kidney to Cubs fan
"Really, it was a reaction to seeing the sign."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Sox-Cubs crosstown rivalry runs deep. But when it comes to life and death, baseball fans put it all aside. And now a diehard Sox fan and a diehard Cubs fan have a life-long bond.

Two years after being diagnosed with kidney failure, Cubs super fan 23-year-old Bridget Kolls knew she had to spread the word for help.

"It took me a long time to actually believe this was happening," Kolls said.

She came to a Cubs game last year with a homemade sign bearing the words, "This lil' Cubbie needs a kidney!"

The Cubs shared the plea on Twitter, and it spread, until it was seen by the diehard Sox fan, 32-year-old Thomas Alessio, moved to take action.

"Really, it was a reaction to seeing the sign," Alessio said.

He made the life changing and life extending decision to donate his kidney to Kolls. He was a match to be a living donor.

"To me, I never had any second doubts. I was like 'hey, this is what I'm doing,'" he said.

Surgery was scheduled for Opening Day this year, but had to be delayed twice because of COVID-19 concerns. But on July 8th, Kolls successfully received Alessio's kidney at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

"Her long term prognosis is definitely good," said Dr. Darshika Chhabra, Advocate Christ Medical Center Nephrologist. "It's much better now."

Kolls even received an invitation from Cubs player, Ian Happ.

"So happy to hear about your successful kidney transplant," Happ said addressing Kolls in a video message. "It's awesome. So happy for you. Let's celebrate at Wrigley next year alright?"

Bridget said she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Especially from her donor, Thomas.

"Left me speechless, and I just think the whole thing's remarkable," she said. "No one has done anything this big for me ever."

Bridget said just because she has a Sox fan's kidney does not mean she's changing her allegiances. Instead she said she is overwhelmed by Thomas's sacrifice.