BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Andrew Astarita is pictured with his 9-year-old daughter on a new electronic rotating billboard that pops up across South Florida and can even appear simultaneously in different areas.
He’s been searching for a kidney donor for years, taking drastic actions recently as his condition has gotten worse. Astarita was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD.
It affects the kidneys and other organs, and doctors say it’s hereditary.
The billboard leads you to a website: https://www.andrewneedsakidney.com.
The page details his story, his family life and facts about “living donations.”
Astarita writes, “I am currently in stage 5 kidney failure or end-stage renal disease. In this last stage, kidneys function below 15 percent of their normal rate.”
The post continues, “My current kidney function is 13%. At this point, I will need to go on dialysis very soon. The type of dialysis treatment that I will be doing will take place every night for eight to 10 hours.”
Astarita says he wants to, at the very least, raise awareness about organ donations after death and educate others about living donations.
More than 90,000 candidates are on the waiting list for a kidney, according to https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/, and even more are on the list for other organs.
Astarita says, “Finding a kidney for a transplant is not easy. Just ask the 100,000+ people on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney. Time is not on our side. Some wait for years … (continued) However, there is another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor.”
You only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life and most donor surgery is done laparoscopy, meaning through tiny incisions.
Astarita writes on his website, “I know living donation may not be right for everyone — but you can still help! Please consider being an organ donor after death, and also help me by sharing my story with everyone you know. At the very least, I want to bring awareness to kidney disease and living donation.”
You can learn more about living donation on the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) website or by contacting the NKF’s free, confidential helpline at 855.NKF.CARES (855.653.2273).
If you want to talk to someone who’s already donated a kidney, NKF can also help.