‘American Ninja Warrior’ Fan Donates Kidney to Save Contestant’s Baby

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Last year on American Ninja Warrior, competitor Kenny Niemitalo reached out to fans in hopes of finding a kidney donor for his then-infant, Hazel, who was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a kidney condition. And a fan named Amy Schlee answered the call.

Amy said she decided to donate a kidney after seeing Niemitalo, Hazel, and Hazel’s mother, Maria Niemitalo, on television. “Just a young family with a beautiful little girl that was going through that,” said Schlee. “And they’d reached out and couldn’t find anybody anywhere, and I knew I was the right blood type, and I just wanted to help them.”

Kenny Niemitalo was taken aback by the kind gesture: “It’s mind-blowing that some random stranger would donate a kidney to somebody that she’s never met.”

Hazel is now almost 2 and is doing very well. Maria had high praise for the woman who saved her daughter saying, “She’s extremely selfless, and the world would be a better place if we had a lot more Amys.”

Even though Kenny did not advance to the finals, he was still extremely thankful for all American Ninja Warrior has done. “Without this show my daughter wouldn’t even be here right now,” he said.

American Ninja Warrior airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC. Watch clips and full episodes of American Ninja Warrior free on Yahoo View.

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