This is a story that is certainly going to bring back your faith in humanity! It’s a story that everyone should read, not just because it shows the power of social media, but because of this man’s selfless act!
Robert Leibowtz, who suffered for a chronic kidney disease for years and was one of the 100,000 people on the waitlist for a kidney in the U.S., did something really crazy in order to save his own life. Namely, being on the waitlist for four years, his O-positive blood and no chances of a donation from his family members (due to potential kidney issues), made him lose any hope that he will ever be lucky enough to receive a kidney. However, he got an excellent idea of how to engage the whole world in his seek for help – which was also his last hope.
Leibowitz, a father of five children, decided to design a T- shirt that said, “In Need Of Kidney O-Positive, Call…” and the number of his mobile phone emblazoned on both sides. His plan was to visit five different parks, including Disneyland. He met hundreds of people who wanted to take a picture of his T- shirt and post it on Facebook. The first day, he got 33,000 shares and within the first week he got more than 90,000 shares on different social networks.
On Tuesday Juan and I celebrated his birthday at Magic Kingdom. On our way out we saw this man pushing a teenage boy in…
One of the many people who saw the post was Jessica Rutledge, a nurse from Huston, who decided to send the link to her friend Richie Sully from Indiana, because she knew that he was O-positive.
The moment Richie saw the link, he decided to write back to Leibowithz and tell him that he is willing to help. This message was one of the 300 that Leibowitz received. He managed to contact every single one of them, telling them his story, explaining the whole process of kidney donation, and reducing his list only to the people whose intention seemed really serious.
He reduced the list to 50-60 people who got an application – the first step of finding the right match. All the potential donors underwent millions of tests, not only physical but mental too – because being the right blood type is not enough. The doctors had to make sure that the potential donor is in a good physical and mental shape, that their kidney health is good and also to make sure that they don’t suffer from some illness that may endanger their life and the life of the person that receives the kidney too.
One of the positive things about the people who got rejected is that they discovered some potential medical issues that they weren’t even aware about and got the chance to prevent them on time.
Finally, the transplant team eliminated all the donors except four of them who were sent to New York for an even bigger round of examinations. The first three were immediately denied.
The only donor who remained was Richie Sully. After his testing, he arranged a meeting with Leibowitz for the first time, and the two spend the whole day together.
In an interview, Leibowitz and Sully both talk about that day with a glow in their eyes. Immediately after they met, they figured out that if they lived closer, if they worked together, or went to school together they would have been best friends. They discovered that they had so much in common, from the love of music to their general way of thinking. They both agree that it had been one of the best days of their lives.
The surgery took place in New York Presbyterian Hospital and Sally was discharged within two days. Three days after him, Leibowitz was discharged too.
After the surgery, Sully says, everything got back to normal; he got up and was even able to walk for 12 hours. According to him, donating a kidney is not a big deal for the donor but it means everything to the person who needs it and his family too. So, he encourages all the people in the world who are willing to donate a kidney, to do so without any hesitation!
The National Kidney Foundation does everything possible to raise the consciousness of people and show them that donating a kidney is really not a big deal.
Leibowitz still cannot believe how well all that turned out. He says that it’s unbelievable how a stranger took an organ out of the body and put it into his own body just to help him survive. He also adds that he will be thanking Richie for the rest of his life.
THIS STORY MADE MY DAY, AND IF YOU FEEL THE SAME PLEASE SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!