Ohio State fan gives life-saving surprise to Penn State fan

Ohio State fan gives life-saving surprise to Penn State fan

An unlikely match: Cedar Cliff grad to donate kidney to retired teacher she never met

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CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – When a Penn State fan and an Ohio State fan meet, it's usually not pretty, but in an act of incredible generosity, it was the perfect match.

George Labecki found out that his kidneys were bad when he was 17 during a preliminary physical he needed before he could accept a full-ride ROTC scholarship. 

It was just something he monitored until two years ago when his kidneys began to fail. 

Video: Woman Dresses As Penn State Mascot To Surprise Retired Teacher With Kidney Donation

"I have a yard that would take 45 minutes to cut, and then suddenly it would take me two hours because I would have to take a break," he said. 

"The one thing you need to do is advocate for yourself, shake the trees, see what happens. If you do nothing, expect nothing," Labecki said. 

Nothing was not what he got. Instead, it was Lindsay Wenrich, who graduated from Cedar Cliff High School. Labecki taught at the school for years, but the two never crossed paths.

After months of testing — without Labecki's knowledge — Wenrich got the call of a lifetime.

"Not only are you approved, but you're a match for George, and it was just like, ugh, I get chills thinking about it right now," Wenrich said. 

The doctors told her to take the weekend to think it over, but she didn't need it. She just needed time to make an even bigger sacrifice: dressing up as the Nittany Lion as a die-hard Ohio State fan. 

"The walls came tumbling down and it was just me, and I felt very small, not in a bad way, but very small and very overwhelmed by the huge thing she was about to do for me," Labecki said. 

"As soon as I saw his face and as soon as I showed him the placard that said, 'I'm giving you my kidney,' it's like everything washed away," Wenrich said. 

Their surgery is scheduled for Oct. 26, and while admittedly, they both are a little nervous, the pair said they're braver together. 

"You don't give something like that and just walk away. She's family now," Labecki said. 

One of Labecki's former students also got tested to see if she could be a match. She wasn't, but she was a match for someone else. She is going through the donation process right now.

Posted in Surprise