Kansas man paints billboard to find wife a kidney donor

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CLOUD COUNTY, Kan. -- One white billboard and four words are catching the attention drivers on Interstate 70, just west of Salina.

The billboard reads "I NEED A KIDNEY" with the phone number below.

"We've had a few calls," said James Nelson.

Nelson, of Jewell, Kan., painted the billboard, which he rented just before Thanksgiving. The thick black letters are a declaration of love for his wife, Sharon, who needs a kidney.

"I've been thinking positive all these years, and I think my military experience in Vietnam helped me be determined and consitant in my effort to help her out all I can," he said.

Sharon was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2008. After aggressive treatment, she was in remission a year later. However, the cancer did take a toll on her health. Her kidneys suffered.

Doctors have told Sharon she is qualified for a kidney transplant. People have volunteered to be her donor. Unfortunately, no people have been an acceptable candidate, including the three people who've responded to the billboard ad.

"One of the people, who is a perfect blood match, had had tuberculosis, so they were unable to donate and the other phone calls have been the wrong blood type," she said.

Sharon has Type O blood, and it's only compatible with that kind of blood.

Now, Sharon is just waiting for the right call.

"If it's supposed t happen, it will happen," she said. "If it's supposed to be, it will happen. I can't change my situation, but hey, it could be a lot worse."

For more information on becoming an organ donor, go to www.organdonor.gov.

Sharon is in need of a kidney donor with Type O blood. Sharon can be contacted at (785) 428-3390.


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