By Kathy Walsh

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– A lifelong Broncos fan will get to attend her first game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Sunday. Linda Regis of Colorado Springs is a double lung transplant recipient who is crazy about former quarterback Peyton Manning.

Thanks to Manning and an elaborate plan to surprise her, Regis got the thrill of a lifetime.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 1863 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Denver Broncos)

“I was in bad shape,” Regis told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 1142 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Linda Regis (credit: CBS)

For 8 years, she depended on oxygen. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) was taking her breath away.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 446 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Linda Regis)

“Sometimes even just getting out of bed would exhaust me,” said Regis, “There was just no air. I couldn’t breathe.”

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 1222 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Linda Regis)

In November 2016, Regis entered University of Colorado Hospital to receive a double lung transplant. While there, she had something else on her mind.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 686 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: CBS)

“I wanted to see Peyton Manning,” she said.

Regis is a devoted fan of the former Denver Broncos quarterback. These days, Manning is a UCHealth spokesman. Regis figured the football star would be around the hospital.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 1923 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Denver Broncos)

“I’d say ‘Manning here?,'” she explained with a smile.

And that’s what nurses say Regis asked as she was recovering from transplant surgery.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 506 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: CBS)

“There was just something about him that, I just felt, I needed and wanted to meet him,” said Regis.

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Linda Regis (credit: CBS)

Fast forward to August 2018. Regis was invited to take pictures at the UCHealth Training Center at Broncos headquarters. It was all a surprise set up by UCHealth.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 1653 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Denver Broncos)

The Broncos captured the moment when Regis was photobombed by the future Hall of Famer.

peyton manning copy Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning with Linda Regis and friends at Denver Broncos headquarters (credit; Denver Broncos)

“That was just a dream, a bucket list dream, that I never thought would come true,” she said.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 2029 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: Denver Broncos)

And then came four game tickets. The lifelong fan will finally see her team play a game at Mile High.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 2387 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

(credit: CBS)

“I’m so excited about Sunday, I can’t sit still,” Regis said.

uhc lung patient manning 5pkg frame 199 Lung Transplant Recipient Thrilled To Meet Peyton Manning

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Linda Regis (credit: CBS)

Regis said she’ll be thinking about the anonymous organ donor, who she calls “her angel,” and she plans to use the gift of new lungs to hoot and holler for the home team.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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