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Kidney kismet: Photo that went viral on social media brings strangers together

MILWAUKEE — A viral photo taken at a Milwaukee Brewers game early in the season may have saved one man’s life.

Lenny Zwieg

Lenny Zwieg is in need of a kidney — and has been on dialysis for more than two years.

“Late 2004 is when I initially got sick with Dengue fever,” Zwieg said.

“Once someone goes on dialysis, we know their risk of dying from a cardiac event goes up significantly after a year,” said Dr. Ajay Sahajpal.

Rewind to April 3, when Zwieg wore a shirt to a Brewers game. On the back, it said, “Father of 3 needs a kidney.”

“Took a picture of the back of my shirt and posted it on Instagram and on Facebook — and it blew and went crazy,” Zwieg said.

Emily Nowak

The picture was shared more than 17,000 times and seen by 24-year-old Emily Nowak of Wausau.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ I can’t imagine if that was my dad,” Nowak said.

Nowak, a second grade teacher, was a match — but only at first. It turns out, Nowak’s kidneys were too small. But here is the twist.

“Through the process we found she wasn’t a perfect match. So we enrolled her into the National Kidney Registry,” Dr. Sahajpal said.

Zwieg and Nowak entered the registry as a pair.

“And now somebody else from who knows where will be getting my kidney and somebody will give Lenny his kidney,” Nowak said.

Zwieg is scheduled to receive a kidney on Friday, Nov. 2 — the same day Nowak is scheduled to donate her kidney.

“It was something to behold,” Zwieg said.

“They’ve changed my life so much more,” Nowak said.

Learn much more about kidney donation by CLICKING HERE.

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