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Woman Finds Kidney Donor with Message on Car Window

When 24-year-old Christine Royles was diagnosed with failing kidneys early last year, she had to join a waiting list of over 100,000 people in the US who needed kidney transplants. When she learned that over 4,000 people die each year just waiting for their turn, she decided to take matters in her own hands. And miraculously, she found a donor all by herself – through a simple message she posted on her car window!

“I saw a story about this old man in a different state who was asking for a kidney for his wife,” the South Portland resident said. “He stood on the side of the road with a sign.” Inspired by the idea, she decided to take it to the next level – instead of standing on the road, she turned her car into a rolling billboard. “Looking for someone to donate me their kidney. Must have type O blood,” her sign read, along with her phone number.

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Photo: Christine Royles

While Christine’s boyfriend thought the idea was weird, it worked surprisingly fast. Only a few days later, local woman Ashley Dall-Leighton spotted the sign. “I looked over, and I go, ‘Oh, my God, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read,’” she said. She pointed the sign out to her husband Josh, a 30-year-old corrections officer at the Southern Maine Re-Entry Center.

“I just looked at my wife and said, ‘I have to try,’” Josh continued. “I think it was the fact that I have three kids of my own, and that really resonated with me. If (my wife) needed a kidney and I couldn’t provide for her, I would hope that somebody else would kind of step up and help her out.”

So Josh texted Christine that he was willing to help, and although Ashley was wary at first, she quickly set her concerns aside. “Josh just told me all along that this is what he needs to do, and if this is what he needs to do, then I support him 100 percent,” she said.

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Photo: FOX News video caption

When Christine received the news, it was the breakthrough she was desperately waiting for. “I started crying,” she said, “because, oh, my God, I can’t believe he’s gonna do this for me. I’m shocked that someone is going to do this for me. The fact that someone with a young family is going to take time off work to help some random person is unbelievable to me.”

Christine met with the Dall-Leightons for the first time last week, at the family’s home in Windham, along with her two-year-old son Talan. She told Josh that it was hard for her to find the words to thank him. But he said that it wasn’t necessary. “I just want you to get better. I just want to hear that donating helped you,” he told her.

Although Christine has found a donor, her struggle is far from over. She has permanent kidney failure, so she continues to live a life consumed by the disease – weekly doctor’s appointments, trips to the hospital, and tons of medication. She has to tether herself to a portable dialysis machine for 10 hours each night, just to keep herself alive.

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Photo: Christine Royles

Final testing on Josh will be completed in the next few weeks, and the actual transplant surgery is tentatively scheduled for mid-May. While Medicare will cover the cost of the transplant – roughly over $250,000 – Christine is still trying to raise funds to help out the family that’s saving her life.

But Josh said that he isn’t expecting any repayment, because donating the kidney is simply the right thing to do. “I want these boys to know that if somebody needs help, you do whatever you can to help them,” he said. “I want them to know these aren’t just words I’m telling them. That I actually did something to help somebody.”

 

According to Sean Roach, public relations manager for the National Kidney Foundation, lots of people prefer to bypass the national waiting list and look donors on their own. “We see people using social media or putting ads out for altruistic donors,” Sean said. “It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that.” But not everyone is lucky enough to find a donor like Christine did.

Source: Portland Press Herald

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