Like tens of thousands of Americans with failing kidneys, Antonio Calderon relies on dialysis awaiting a transplant donor from a registry.
"I had always been tired, fatigued, but it got a whole lot worse,” Calderon said.
Calderon goes through nine hours of dialysis every night at home, he has a catheter that was installed via surgery.
U.S. & World
It has already been two years of waiting for a kidney, and Calderon knows it could be a lot longer. He was told it would be about nine to 10 years.
“Hopefully it’s shorter than that, or this billboard helps out,” Calderon said.
The billboard can be found in West Los Angeles, California, on Barrington avenue just above Olympic boulevard.
Calderon is seeking a live donor willing to part with one of their two kidneys.
The idea came to him from a friend who had volunteered to donate one of his, but was medically ruled out--and no other friends of family could donate theirs.
"You just feel very powerless,” said Ilya Polyakov, Calderon’s friend. “You want to do something but what? It felt good to do something proactive with this whole thing."
Polyakov told us he got the idea from the outreach by the Riverside County family that succeeded in finding a kidney donor.
So for Calderon's 31st birthday, Ilya Polyakov set up a GoFundMe page and friends came up with $5,000 to make the appeal with this message: "You can't legally buy a kidney. So we bought this billboard to save our friend's life."
The billboard lists an email and a phone number for potential donors to contact.
They say the response has been overwhelming.
"I'm very grateful this is happening to me," Calderon said.
Calderon has been told transplant does not require a match of his O positive blood, but it is preferred.
They've been sending the contact information for the would be donors to the transplant center at Cedar's Sinai.
Calderon and Polyakov say they hope their campaign raises awareness and leads to more donors coming forward for others as well.