By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Photo Courtesy: Beth Legler of Skype interview with Australian news
BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -
Many people play the popular game Words with Friends on their cell phones, but a player from Blue Springs ended up saving the life of a man half a world away.
Blue Springs resident Beth Legler started playing Words with Friends on her cell phone more than two years ago and that's where she met Georgie and Simon Fletcher from Queensland, Australia. The game app, much like Scrabble, lets people play against their friends by placing tiles to create words and get points on a virtual board online using cell phones and tablets.
While playing the game together, Georgie mentioned to Beth that Simon wasn't feeling well. He then described his symptoms.
Beth's husband Larry is a doctor and, when he heard the symptoms, he immediately diagnosed Simon and made it clear he needed to get to a hospital.
He did so, albeit reluctantly. He is grateful that he heeded the warning.
Turns out Simon had a 99 percent blockage near his heart and, had he not made it to the hospital that day, he almost certainly would have died.
"Had Larry not sent that message, I don't think Simon would have gone to the doctor that day," said Georgie via Skype.
Her husband wishes he could personally thank the Blue Springs residents.
"I've got to buy that man a beer, he saved my life," Simon said. "I'd really like to put my arms around him and give him a big squeeze."
Two families, living half a world apart, said they were drawn together by an online game to save a man's life.
"Had I not had that random opponent all that time ago … I just think Beth and I were meant to meet on this game," Georgie said.
"I owe Larry everything, I'm really lucky to be here," Simon said.
Now, nearly three months later, both families are doing well. They are thankful for the online phone app game that became much more than a fun diversion.
Although they've never met in person, they feel like they are now lifelong friends.
"Once we started talking, we really haven't shut up," Beth said.
"The real credit for Simon is that he has a wife that really was following through on things. She was quite determined to have him seek the care he should have," Larry said.
They hope to have that beer someday in Hawaii.
The story of the Leglers and Fletchers has quickly spread and the couples were interviewed Friday by an Australian news station.
"It is truly amazing to us that a story could go so far in such a short period of time. And it's been a wonderful experience to have had made some great friends and know that Simon is well because of a word game. Georgie and I definitely believe fate played a hand in our life experience," said Beth when she updated KCTV5 on the story's reach. "Thanks again for taking us on a ride. It won't soon be forgotten."
The friend who introduced Beth Legler to Words with Friends wrote about the game's reach and this medical drama here.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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