Former Marines Reconnect 20 Years Later For Life-Changing Kidney Transplant

More than 120,000 fans attended the Super Bowl this month to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Among those fans were two former Marines who reconnected for a life-changing kidney transplant.

Billy Welsh, a life-long Eagles fan, and John Gladwell, a big Chiefs fan, first met more than 20 years ago when served together in the United States Marine Corps.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

After their military careers came to an end, they stayed connected through Facebook, but hadn’t talked or seen each other in years.

In 2019, Welsh learned that he was very sick and in need of a kidney donation, which he ended up posting on his Facebook to try and find a match.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

Gladwell saw his post and immediately went to get tested to see if he was a match for his old friend. Much to his surprise, he ended up being a perfect match!

Without hesitation, he agreed to donate one of his kidneys to Welsh.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

“You never leave a brother behind,” Gladwell told TODAY. “Marines are a band of brothers and you don’t leave someone behind.”

Welsh was days away from starting dialysis when he learned that his Marine brother was a perfect match.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

From there, they both traveled to Philadelphia, where they underwent a 10-hour kidney transplant surgery together.

“It’s a whole new lease on life,” Welsh told TODAY. “I was worried about if I didn’t get a kidney, my son would grow up without a father.”

Thanks to Gladwell, he won’t have to.

Photo: YouTube/TODAY

The transplant was a success and Welsh is doing fantastic.

Before the Super Bowl, the Eagles president reached out to the Chiefs, and both teams banded together to bring these two Marines to the Super Bowl together.

Hear more of their heartwarming story in the video below:

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