Back in August, we shared a photo of a New Jersey man who wore a t-shirt to Magic Kingdom that read, “In need of a kidney. O positive. Call 917-597-2651.” The photo was shared on social media 33,000 times within 24 hours and WFTV shared this morning that a donor has been found!
While the photo of Robert Leibowitz went viral immediately on social media and calls from willing donors with the right blood type started coming in, none of them passed the other requirements until a man named Richie Sully from Indiana picked up the phone.
Sully saw the Facebook post when it was shared by a friend from Houston and knowing he had the correct blood type, he hopped onboard a 14-hour Greyhound bus ride and stayed in a hostel to have the testing done. Turns out that he was a perfect match!
Below are details from a FaceTime interview Sulley had with WFTV:
Leibowitz said, “I think that I am still in shock, just the fact that it is real. I am a single dad. I love them more than anything in the world and they are my rocket fuel. That’s what keeps me going.”
Sully said, “As a father, I could relate to having kids, and the last thing I would want my kids to worry about every night when they go to bed is how much more time they have with me.”
Leibowitz said his 14-year-old daughter came up with the idea for the shirt and that he knew wearing it on his Disney trip would help him get a lot of exposure.
“I just wanted to do something nice for somebody. Honestly, I was hoping it would get shared 100 times in one day, because I only have like, 260 friends on Facebook,” Sandoval said.
“I figured that is the best place to do it in a week,” said Leibowitz. “It is very hard to get a kidney and there are not a lot of donors out there, or with O positive (blood type). I am universal, but I have to get an O back.”
“Fortunately, I am fairly healthy and I saw this as just another way to help someone,” Sully said. “It just happens to require surgery.”
Liebowitz told WFTV that he’s more than amazed that someone in a different state would see a Facebook post, travel so far and decide to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.
“It is not like we don’t have a cure for kidney disease,” he said. “We do. It is humanity. Humanity changed its name to Richie Sully.”
The kidney transplant is scheduled for January 18, 2018, in New York.
Once the surgery has been completed, both families are planning to reunite in the place where their story began: Magic Kingdom.