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Double lung transplant recipient gets surprise of a lifetime at Broncos training camp

Posted at 8:19 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 22:29:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado Springs resident Linda Regis recently experienced one of the best photobombs a Broncos fan could ask for.

“I turned around and couldn’t believe it–it was Peyton Manning!” she told News5.

“It took my breath away,” she added.

Regis is no stranger to breathtaking moments–except for up to this point, those moments were accompanied by an oxygen tank.

“It just took everything I had to do anything.” She was diagnosed with COPD in 2011, a disease that interferes with normal breathing.

“It’s a pretty harsh disease, mentally, physically, emotionally–it takes its toll.” Regis says something as simple as walking to her mailbox wasn’t possible without an oxygen tank.

In August of 2016, she was put on the recipient list for a double lung transplant. Three months later, Regis got the call.

“They said, ‘looks like we have a match.’  That was an emotional day for the family as well.”

The surgery went well, but when Regis came to, she had one burning question. “My voice was kind of hoarse… but I said, ‘so has anyone seen Manning?'” she told News5, laughing.

Regis was being treated at the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora and had heard Peyton Manning had stopped in from time to time to visit patients.

The Broncos fanatic admits she had been wandering the halls of the facility for months-, looking for the Sheriff.

“I would look in offices, and even go into the gift shop.  As hard as it was to walk, I would go and look for him.” She never did spot her sports idol at the hospital.

But thanks to UCHealth calling in some favors, Manning found her nearly two years later during a visit to the Broncos training facility.

He came, bearing gifts, giving Regis four tickets to the upcoming Broncos/Seahawks season opener in Denver. It will be her first live Broncos game.

There are few moments that will ever top meeting Peyton Manning. But Regis says one day, she still hopes to meet her donor’s family.

“I don’t even know what that day would be like because their loved one is actually walking with me.  I always say it’s not me breathing, it’s my angel friend.  That’s what’s getting me through every day.”