CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – About two months ago, ABC27 told you about an unlikely pairing that became the perfect match.
Retired Cedar Cliff teacher George Labecki needed a kidney, and a graduate he’d never met answered the call.
The story of the pair went viral online after donor Lindsay Wenrich dressed up as the Penn State Nittany Lion — even though she’s a huge Ohio State fan — to say, “I’m your donor.”
“We had once been one healthy person and me, and now we’re two healthy people because of what we’ve been through,” Labecki said.
Labecki is suffering no longer. After years of declining health, he lucked out big time, with Wenrich’s practically showroom-new kidney.
“They were stitching things in place and as soon as they put the last stitch in the donor kidney, it started producing,” Labecki said.
“They match you the best they can, but there’s no guarantee. So, it was definitely a blessing to hear that,” Wenrich said.
She still considers it one of the happiest moments of her life, despite having the tougher battle post-surgery.
“They told me that the recipient was going to feel great, and he did, and he looked great, and I looked a little — you know — I looked rough,” she said.
“I was up right away doing laps around the ICU, and then I saw her — my goodness, she came up to see me the first night. I was so impressed by that, but she looked a little rough,” Labecki said.
Forever a fighter, Wenrich bounced back after two days and even returned to work in two weeks. Two months later, she still can’t believe how her life has changed.
“Can you believe that we barely knew each other just about two months ago and now I love them. They’re wonderful and they’ll be a part of my life forever,” Wenrich said.
Labecki means forever, too. He no longer teaches but wants everyone to take the test and see if they match – and maybe save a life.
“For every guy like me out there, there is somebody like Lindsay, and that’s the legacy. Somebody like her is out there waiting to make an impact on your life,” Labecki said.
Labecki never had Wenrich in class, but somebody taught her well.
“Any birthdays, marriages, graduations — this is my proudest — this is what I’m most proud of,” Wenrich said.
“She’s a family member. She’s one of the sweetest, nicest people I’ve ever known,” Labecki said.