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