'Share your spare': N.B. man uses vehicle to make public plea for kidney
A New Brunswick man has hit the streets with his very public plea for a new kidney.
Dan McLaughlin of Riverview, N.B. was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1994. Since then, his organs have slowly lost their ability to function. He started on dialysis two years ago.
McLaughlin says he’s been on the donor list for over a year, and his health has gone downhill over the last year, making his search for an organ donor more urgent than ever before.
"A person on dialysis, on average only about 30% live five years, so I expect to live more than that, but a deadline like that gives you a sense of urgency," explains Dan McLaughlin.
That's why the 58-year-old Riverview native has taken his search for a transplant to the streets, advertising on his car for a new kidney, all while raising awareness for organ donation.
McLaughlin and his wife have placed decals on the back windows of their family cars.
The decal reads 'Kidney needed Type O, Share your Spare', along with McLaughlin's phone number.
McLaughlin's public plea started on Thursday, but is already making an impact. On Friday he received a call from a woman offering to be tested for a possible match.
McLaughlin says he knows asking for a kidney is a significant request, but the fact that he's already had people contact him offering to be tested gives him hope a match will be found.
"I know there is a lot of altruistic people out there, but to actually speak to somebody who is willing to do something, that's really special," says McLaughlin.
McLaughlin's wife offered her kidney, but it isn't a match. He needs type O, while she is A+, but she says she'll still donate a kidney to someone else.
"If Dan does find a donor, I’m still going to donate to somebody that I can match with, so Dan will get one and somebody will get one as well," says Patricia McLaughlin, Dan’s wife.
McLaughlin's daughter says it's difficult seeing her dad suffer.
"Some days are better than most, and then there are some really bad days too, but at the same time he's always positive. He'll always go above and beyond," says Marie McLaughlin.
McLaughlin says he has to, because he still has things to do.
"I want to see my children get married, I want to see grandchildren, all those things. I want to travel with my wife some more," says McLaughlin.
McLaughlin says once a donor is found, the transplant process can take six months to a year to complete, so time is of the essence.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis.