Kansas City Chiefs fan will reunite at the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles supporter whose life he saved by donating his kidney after their teams agreed to send them both to the Arizona finale
While there may be rivalry on the field and in the stands of the University of Phoenix Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, few opposing fans will have a closer bond than two former marines.
In 2019, Philadelphia Eagles fan Billy Welsh made a Facebook post when in dire need for a new kidney.
His former Marine buddy and Kansas City Chiefs supporter John Gladwell stepped to the fore, discovering he was a perfect match before traveling to the City of Brotherly Love to undergo the 10-hour surgery, just days before Welsh was set to undergo dialysis.
Since, the pair have become eternally bonded and in recognition of their feel-good story, will be next to each other at Super Bowl LVII thanks to the efforts of Eagles and Chiefs brass.
‘The opportunity to bring these two guys together, their two teams playing on the biggest stage in sports, it’s very, very humbling and gratifying,’ Eagles president Don Smolenski, who contacted Kansas City, said via The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Eagles fan Billy Welsh (L) and Chiefs fan John Gladwell will be at the Super Bowl on Sunday
The pair were reunited when Gladwell (L) gave one of his kidneys to save Welsh from dialysis
Welsh and Gladwell met over two decades ago while serving in the US Marines and stayed connected via Facebook before the former’s post caught the attention of Gladwell.
‘I wasn’t going to let his son grow up without his dad being there for everything,’ the passionate Chiefs fan said of his heroic decision on TODAY.
‘It meant the world to me. I was speechless. John Gladwell is my hero,’ Welsh told the talk show Wednesday.
While the selfless choice may seem a big deal to most, Gladwell took an approach akin to a quarterback preparing for the biggest game of their life.
‘Just another day. I had it set in my head that no matter what happened, it’s just another day,’ he said. ‘Marines are a band of brothers. You don’t leave some behind.’
Neither expected to be watching their team at the Super Bowl, particularly at the expense of their beloved organizations.
‘I was stunned,’ Welsh said of his reaction following the call from Smolenski, revealing the news. Despite the beauty of the circumstance, Welsh is still unsure about one aspect of Sunday.
‘A Chiefs kidney? I don’t know how my body will react if the Chiefs win. The Eagles are going to win. Go Birds.’
The duo served together in the Marines in their younger years – the start of a close bond
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk