When a New Jersey man wore a T-shirt that appealed for a kidney donor at Disney World, he wasn’t expecting the incredible response he received, and now he is on his way to receiving one.
Robert Leibowitz, 60, who has been in need of a new kidney for three years after suffering from chronic kidney disease, visited Disney World in September when a stranger, Rocio Sandoval, snapped a photo of the T-shirt and posted it to Facebook.
Sandoval’s photo quickly went viral.
Just months after the post, Leibowitz found a kidney match in a complete stranger who had seen the post.
Richie Sully, of Indiana, said he saw Sandoval’s post and knew immediately that he wanted to help Leibowitz.
“A friend sent me a link that said, ‘This guy needs a kidney,’” Sully told InsideEdition.com.
So he reached out to Leibowitz, saying, “My name is Richie. I am O positive. I have an extra kidney [and] you are welcome to it.”
Although Sully seemed nonchalant about his life-changing offer and mentioning that “it’s just what you’re supposed to do,” Leibowitz said the offer left him in shock.
“I was in disbelief because it took so long because it takes so long,” Leibowitz said. “I was so happy.”
Sully began the testing process to see if he was a match, and flew out from Indiana to visit Leibowitz and finish testing at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.
“We spent the whole day in the city together,” Leibowitz said. “[I] gave him the whole tour. [We] got to know each other, got to bond.”
It later turned out that Sully was a match
Leibowitz, a single dad, is still on dialysis three times a week but his surgery is planned for Jan. 18.
“I am excited to do it, to break that chain so he doesn’t have to be on dialysis,” Sully said. “It’s not about checking a box at the DMV or donating platelets. It’s about doing more when you can.”
Leibowitz said he is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming surgery, but is forever grateful to Sully. He predicts the pair will be lifelong buddies.
“I can’t even put into words the type of gesture, [that] someone would do something like that,” Leibowitz said.