Kraken hero-fan Nadia Popovici saving another life by donating kidney

May 16 2023, 8:55 pm

As if Nadia Popovici needed to do more.

The 23-year-old med student made international news after she spotted a cancerous mole on the back of Vancouver Canucks trainer Red Hamilton’s neck during a Seattle Kraken home game on October 23, 2021. Hamilton credited her for saving his life, and the heartwarming story captured the attention of hockey fans everywhere.

But Popovici is indeed going to do more.

The University of Washington student announced today that she has decided to donate a kidney, and she’s raising money for Northwest Kidney Centers. If you’d like to donate, you can do so on Popovici’s JustGivingĀ fundraising page. She’s looking to raise $10,000.

“One of the hardest things that I have had to come to terms with pursuing medicine is that sometimes you can know everything about a disease, from the way it will progress in the future to the molecular cause of each symptom experienced, and still, you may not be able to save someoneā€™s life,” PopoviciĀ said on her JustGiving fundraising page.

Popovici notes that over 90,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and that 13 die every day.

“You can have the best doctors, a solidified diagnosis, a treatment planā€¦ but what can you do when thereā€™s simply not enough kidneys to go around?

“I just happen to have two.”

Popovici says she’s going to donate her kidney to someone on the national kidney registry in a few months.

“I understand that I am privileged to be young, healthy, and have the life circumstances that allow me to undergo this process. I have put a lot of thought into this, but with each scan and blood test, I am further convinced that this is the right decision. As much as I am committing myself to a life in medicine, life is meant to be spent outside of hospitals and dialysis centers. If I get to save even one patient and their loved ones a fraction of extra time together, I am going to do it.”

In a conversation with Daily Hive, Popovici wanted to make it clear that she’s encouraging people to donate to whatever kidney organization they see fit.

She added that she’s in contact with Hamilton, who she says has invited her to participate in a golf fundraiser at Tsawwassen Springs in September, in support of Melanoma Canada.

“Iā€™m currently deciding if I should embarrass myself golfing or just show up to support him,” Popovici joked.

Popovici is fresh off enjoying a thrilling playoff run by her beloved Kraken, who made it to the second round in just their second season.

“Iā€™m so proud of the Kraken, itā€™s absolutely mind-blowing to me what a fantastic season it was,” she said. “I think we really showed up each game and proved what Seattle hockey is all about. Not to mention the way that the fans showed their support this season was just so heartwarming! I got happy every time I would walk through the grocery store or be at the gym and see someone fully decked out in Kraken gear casually.”

She has a soft spot for the Canucks too, despite their less-than-stellar season.

“I can see the frustration from the fans, but I swear everyone keeps inspiring me with their passion and hope… Iā€™m proud of the Canucks and more proud of the fans.”

And everyone is proud of Popovici.

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