NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn man has transformed himself into a walking billboard in the hope of finding a kidney for his wife, soliciting donors with every step he takes.
Raymond Thompson is shouldering the burden of his wife’s kidney disease. The backpack he wears every day relays his message as he hopes someone will see it and step up.
“I’m in need of a kidney for my wife, she’s B positive, here’s my phone number just reach out,” Thompson said about the desperate plea on his bag.
Thankfully, a lot of people have been reaching out over the phone daily and digitally too.
His backpack caught the eye of a journalist who tweeted it out. That’s when celebrities began chiming in. It was shared by actors Zach Braff, Sarah Hyland, and several tennis stars.
“Ever since, it’s been crazy… people have been calling, text messages, all day every day and night so most of my time I’m just there replying,” Thompson said.
It’s a full time job sorting through the hundreds of responses. One he has to fit in between his normal work shift and wife’s hospital trips.
Raymond and his wife Mylen were high school sweethearts together for a healthy 18 years before the diagnosis.
His mother, Donna Thomspon, takes care of their four-year-old daughter Rachel when she’s not in school.
“He is doing great for his wife,” Thompson’s mother said.
“I am praying every night for my daughter-in-law to get through with her kidney and to feel much better to take care of her daughter.”
Rachel was only two when the happy family got the heartbreaking diagnosis.
“My mom is at the doctor at the hospital,” the toddler said.
Health professionals say it can take anywhere from four to ten years to find a match. So Raymond took the hunt into his own hands. One year later, and countless steps each day, he’s asking others to take the first step towards saving his wife.
“Just sign up to be organ donors because everyone everywhere needs an organ to survive,” Thompson told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.
While they still have not found a match for his wife, Raymond has pledged to keep coming into work every day wearing the backpack.