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Former NFL quarterback surprises special fan with surprise appearance at family photo

Peyton Manning, seen taking a photo at The Memorial Tournament in May in Dublin, Ohio, came back to the Denver Broncos headquarters this week to give a surprise to a special fan. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning came back to Broncos headquarters this week — not to get back in the game, but to give a surprise to a special fan.

Who is this person?

Linda Regis, a Broncos fan and lung transplant recipient, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in 2008 and struggled with the disease for years.

Regis was diagnosed with COPD in 2008. A few years later, she had to quit her job. A few years more and her only option was to have a double lung transplant, according to a video posted on the Denver Broncos Twitter account.

“It’s like being in prison within yourself,” Regis said of the disease. “I mean, it eventually takes your breath. So, you can’t do much.”

Just making the bed was a chore, she told the sports outlet.

Nearly two years ago, as Regis was coming out of anesthesia from her transplant surgery, she was confused and repeatedly asked where Peyton Manning was.

What happened next?

But after hearing the story, the hospital began working with Manning to invite Regis to the UCHealth Training Center and give her a surprise.

The day started out with Regis at the training center, pretending to throw a football just like her hero.

"Every day I wake up and I just thank God that I'm here," she told the Denver Broncos, which posted a video of it on the sports team's Twitter page.

She said she calls the donor of her lungs her “angel friend.”

While she was on the field with her family, Manning walked up and joined the family photo.

"Oh my gosh," she said with a big smile when he walked out.

Manning also presented Regis with tickets to her first Broncos game this week against the Seattle Seahawks.

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