HAMILTON, NJ - Robert Leibowitz and I crossed paths at two different jobs in the magazine publishing world. He was always a positive person in the office, and any time you would ask how he was doing, more often than not he would respond with, "living the dream!"
But his nightmare is his quest to find a kidney donor.
Leibowitz, of Hamilton, NJ, suffers from chronic kidney disease, a result of a serious kidney infection he had when he was 12 years old. His doctor told him he would eventually need a kidney transplant, and he is on the transplant donor list. But he needs a donor who is a rare O positive. In the meantime, he is on dialysis three times a week, four hours a day.
A chance encounter in the Magic Kingdom on Aug. 22nd may just improve his odds in finding a compatible donor. Thanks to a picture that Rocio Sandoval snapped there, where Leibowitz was celebrating his 60th birthday with his five children, his story has gone viral.
Sandoval, of Missoula, Montana, had asked him if it would be okay to take a picture of his shirt that said In Need of a Kidney, O Positive, Call 917-597-2651; he said yes, and hugged her.
Sandoval posted the picture on Facebook, and so far it has been shared over 73K times. Her chance encounter with Leibowitz has also made the local news in Florida. Fingers crossed Sandoval's post leads to finding a donor for him.
The National Kidney Foundation has information on What to Know if you are interested in being a kidney donor. On average, a kidney from a living donor lasts about 15 to 20 years.