Chiefs Fan Donates Kidney To Eagles Fan And Now They’re Heading To The Super Bowl Together

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Their teams may be battling it out on the field this coming Super Bowl Sunday, but for Billy Welsh, he’s already won the biggest battle of them all.

In 2019, Welsh, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, needed a kidney transplant. John Gladwell saw Welsh’s need and stepped up by donating his kidney.

Gladwell is a Kansas City Chiefs fan.

Now, the Chiefs and Eagles are sending the pair of fans to the Super Bowl.

Billy Welsh and John Gladwell underwent kidney transplants. (TODAY)


The two men had known each other for nearly 20 years, dating back to when they both served in the Marines. They kept in loose contact, generally only through Facebook from time to time. After exhausting all efforts everywhere else, Welsh posted his need for a kidney to Facebook. Gladwell saw the post, went and got tested, then found out that he was compatible. The two would eventually undergo a 10-hour transplant at a Philadelphia hospital.

“I wasn’t going to let his son grow up without his dad being there for everything,” Gladwell told NBC’s TODAY.

Billy Welsh posted on Facebook his need for a kidney donation. (Facebook)

The heroic act of kindness and friendship didn’t go unnoticed. Once the Chiefs and Eagles were set for a Super Bowl matchup, the two men’s story began making the rounds on social media.

Eagles President Don Smolenski got word of it, contacted the Chiefs, and both organizations agreed to send the men to the big game. “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,” Smolenski told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

And although Welsh owes his life to Gladwell, he joked that all things are off for those 60 minutes.

“A Chiefs kidney? I don’t know how my body will react if the Chiefs win,” Welsh said. Before using that strong confidence that has helped him continue on during the health battle: “The Eagles are going to win. Go Birds!”

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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