Dying New Jersey dad gets kidney transplant after Disney photo goes viral

Thanks to a T-shirt, Disney World, social media and a little bit of magic, a New Jersey man received a life-saving kidney transplant.

Robert Leibowitz, from Lawrenceville, wore a special-made T-shirt on his family vacation to Disney World this summer, ABC News reports. It read: "In Need Of Kidney O Positive" with a phone number to call with leads.

The single, working dad had been suffering from a chronic kidney disease for three years and needed dialysis three times a week. He was on a list for a living donor, but he was told that the process could take up to seven years.

Yet in Disney, fellow guest Rocio Sandoval noticed Leibowitz's shirt and asked if she could take a picture of it.

"I said, 'You better believe it,'" Leibowitz told ABC News.

Sandoval posted the picture to her Facebook page, and in just 24 hours, it had been shared 35,000 times. To date, it's been shared over 90,000 times.


Eventually, the post was noticed by Indiana father-of-two Richie Sullivan, and he responded to Leibowitz's request. After a series of tests, they discovered they were compatible.

Sullivan went under the knife at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan this week, and the transplant was successful!

"He saved my dad's life," Doug Rockwell, Leibowitz's son, posted to Facebook. "He didn't have to do it. But he did ... It was almost frustrating that all I could do was give him a giant bear hug and say 'thank you.'"



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Related Topics:
healthkidney transplantDisney Worldu.s. & worldNew York City