BY SAM RAPPAPORT
A 52-year-old Glendale man has plastered his car windows with an advertisement seeking a new kidney for his wife.
Michael Bilski said that his wife, Sandy Collado-Bilski, 50, was diagnosed with kidney failure a year and a half ago and has been on dialysis ever since.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are 7,866 patients currently in need of a kidney on New York State’s transplant waiting list.
“The average waiting list is six years in New York, so I put on the back of my car that my wife needs a kidney,” Bilski said.
Bilski, who is a mechanic with the city’s Department of Sanitation, is unable to donate one of his own kidneys because he is diabetic. He said that he came up with the idea to advertise for a kidney on his car after finding that others have run similar campaigns.
“I was doing research on the internet,” Bilski said. “I heard about someone doing it out West, and they got the kidney.”
Bilski said that a potential donor need not even be his wife’s blood type (B positive) due to such programs as paired donor exchanges or “kidney swaps.” These allow transplant recipients who have willing live donors to swap donor organs.
A passage on the Columbia University Renal and Pancreatic Transplant Program website explains the process.
“For patients who have a willing but incompatible donor, the strategy allows people who need a kidney to receive an organ that is a better match to his or her blood type and antibodies than their own donor could provide,” the website reads.
Bilski said that he covers as much ground with his car as possible in the hopes that the white letters on his back window might catch the eye of a good samaritan.
“I try to go out to Long Island,” he said. “I go upstate. And in two weeks, I’ll go to Rhode Island for my son’s rugby contest.”
Bilski said that he is gaining traction on Facebook with a group he created called Wife Needs a Kidney.
“People are sharing it like crazy,” he said.
Still, he has only received two calls from possible donors since he put up the advertisement two weeks ago.
“My next step is to get shirts made,” Bilski said.
To contact Bilski about donating a kidney, call (917) 607-3961.
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.