All season long, Kenny Neimitalo has made his American Ninja Warrior runs about much more than himself. His daughter, Hazel, found a kidney donor from the awareness he raised on the show. This season, it was all about finding kidneys for other children.
“Especially after the last two years with Hazel, people are always reaching out. It’s given me a whole new perspective on why we’re doing this. For me to run the course now, it’s to motivate people to give kidneys. It just shows that there’s so much more to doing Ninja Warrior than what I originally started doing it as. It’s more valuable, it’s more rewarding than hitting buzzers.”
On night two of the National Finals, Kenny made us aware that one of those children, 13-year-old Liza, was now in desperate need of a donor.
According to a post on the ‘Kidney for Liza’ Facebook page, please reach out to Wake Forest Baptist Heath at 336-713-5685 or livingdonation@WakeHealth.edu to see if you could be a match.
On Stage One, Kenny made sure his message was at the forefront, wearing a shirt with Liza’s picture on it.
As he started the Double Dipper, we got a look at the back, with its “Please Donate” message.
The Double Dipper is where some trouble started for Kenny. He made the landing pad, but he struck it hard with his left leg. It looked like he might have had some kind of injury occur.
Kenny soldiered on. But at the Warped Wall, it was perfectly clear he was battling the pain.
And yet, he still went up the wall in one go. Time was beginning to get tight at this point.
Kenny hit the Twist and Fly with only 20 seconds left. He’d need big, fearless moves to make it.
He went for it, getting as close to the buzzer as he possibly could. He timed out a few feet away from the finish.
While Kenny wasn’t moving on to Stage Two, he did an incredible job sharing his message on behalf of Liza.
For more information on kidney donation, visit Kidney.Org/LivingDonors.