(NEWBERG, Ore.) -- One man is taking to the streets in hopes of finding a new kidney. “People are panhandling for money and he’s panhandling for a kidney,” Dawn-Marie Gray, 41, of Newberg, Ore., told ABC's Good Morning America of her husband’s creative ploy to find a live kidney donor. As often as he’s able, Kevin Gray, 35, stands near Highway 99W in his hometown holding a sign that reads, “Living kidney donor needed.”
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Kevin, as the father of three daughters -- aged 2, 12 and 17 -- only found out last May that his kidneys were even bad. “We found out a year ago that he needed a transplant,” Gray explained. “We thought on almost every level I was going to be a match, but I have horseshoe kidneys. They’re connected at the bottom so there’s no way they could disconnect them to share them with anybody else.”
Once his wife was out of the running as a potential donor, Kevin took the more drastic approach of raising awareness and soliciting donors from the side of the road.
“He can’t stand out there all day. He gets tired,” Gray said of her husband’s efforts. “It’s a hit or miss, but he’ll stand out there as often as he feels that he can.”
“Everybody please just sign up to be a living donor,” she explained. “That’s what this is all about. If you can’t be Kevin’s donor, be somebody’s donor.”
Since starting the Facebook page and holding the sign in public view, many people have messaged the families letting them know they’ve signed up to be a donor. Now, Gray said, it’s just a waiting game.
“People just don’t know the difference they can make,” she explained. “It’s not just the recipient that benefits. They touch the lives of many.”
More than anything, Gray hopes potential donors realize it’s not just one gift they are giving.
“They are saving the life of my husband. They are saving the father of my children.” she said.
Without a living donor, Gray says there’s a three-year waiting list for a cadaver kidney in Oregon.
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