What happens when you need a new kidney? We hear stories about a family member, friend, or stranger donating one, but what if someone can’t find a match? Then what?
If you don’t want to be on a waiting list with over 100,000 people that can take around a decade, then it’s time to get creative. (Though the average wait time is 3-5 years, it varies depending on blood type.)
Karol Franks, a mother in Pasadena, CA decided to paint the windows of her family’s cars to find a kidney donor for her daughter, Jenna.
The white paint reads: “Daughter Needs Kidney, Type O, [email protected].”
“Jenna never complains and just takes it day by day,” Karol told TODAY.com. “This has taken over her entire life and we want more for her, which is why we’re trying everything we can.”
Jenna was diagnosed with kidney failure when she was just 14 years old. She is 29 now, and uses dialysis every day.
She had a kidney transplant at age 20, but after seven years, her body rejected it. So, she started daily dialysis again. “My life pretty much revolves around my illness,” she told NBC News.
Jenna’s mother said she heard about another family painting their car in search for a kidney donor—and they found one—so it inspired her to do the same.
“I didn’t know how it would work for those in small towns, but we live in Los Angeles with thousands of people on the road, so we figured we’d give it a shot,” Karol said to TODAY.com. “It seems like every time we get on the freeway we get responses from people,” Karol said.
And when a fellow driver, Tatum Bateman, saw the Franks’ car, she took a picture and tweeted it, saying, “This honestly needs to go viral.” That, it did. Since it was posted on Sept. 27, the tweet has been retweeted more than 9,200 times (and viewed around 700,000 times), and more than 25 people have gotten tested to see if they’re a donor match.
“It’s completely gratifying to see the response,” Karol said to Yahoo Parenting. “We have gotten emails from people willing to test, and others sending prayers and messages of support. It is heartwarming to hear from other moms who say they would do they same thing if it were one of their kids.”
And what does Bateman think of her tweet reaching hundreds of thousands of people? “I just thought it was a really great idea to spread the word,” Bateman told NBC News. “I had no idea that it would actually go viral,” Bateman told Yahoo Parenting. “It’s so cool. Social media used for the right way can really work and do something that really matters.”
For more information, check out the Facebook page Karol set up, Wanted: Kidney donor for Jenna. Hopefully, it’ll help spread the word, too.