NEW YORK, N.Y. – A dying dad of five who printed a plea for a kidney donor on a t-shirt and wore it around Disney World for nine straight days while on vacation with his family in August has received a transplant.
“You know I came up with idea because I think it’s out of desperation. I look at my kids. When I’m with my kids all my problems go away. And I needed more time with them,” Rob Leibowitz, 60, said.
A couple who saw him wearing the t-shirt at Disney in August snapped a photo and shared it on Facebook. It went viral. It got 30,000 shares in the first 24 hours. Liebowitz got calls from strangers from across the country.
“Totally surprised. I’m from Brooklyn. I’m surprised at everything with help from strangers,” Liebowitz, who now lives in New Jersey, said. “I was in shock.”
But not everyone was a match.
Richie Sully from Fort Wayne, Indiana said he was donating blood to help Hurricane Harvey victims when a friend showed him that viral Facebook post. Sully called the number and left a voicemail.
“Hi, my name is Richie. I saw your post. I have an extra kidney. I’m O-positive. You’re more than welcome to have it,” Sully said in his message.
Sully is also a single dad – of two little girls, Layla, 11, and Emma, 5. Sully took off from work and paid to stay in a New York hotel for two weeks. He’s spent time with Liebowitz everyday.
“We walked around Manhattan for like six hours and we had sushi and he took me to Times Square. And we talked about music and about being dads and things like that. And really hit it off,” he said.
Sully underwent surgery beside his new friend on Thursday at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
A fundraising page was created for Sully for his travel and expenses while in New York.