He’s still got a long road ahead of him, but Andrew Astarita says he is incredibly grateful for all the love, support and interest in his story as he and his family work to find a much-needed kidney.
Local 10 News profiled the Coconut Creek man and his desperate search to find a match, leading his family and community to help raise money to get the word out. They ultimately took out electronic billboards on I-95 that would air in Miami Dade and Broward counties, reading “My Daddy Needs A Kidney.”
The story caught the attention of folks at TPS Engage, a company that allows anyone to book hourly slots on billboards across the country.
“We saw the news article about the billboard in Miami and because of what we do we thought we could help. We wanted to help,” said Matei Psatta, co-founder of TPS Engage.
The billboard is now running from Wednesday to Saturday for at least an hour per day in one of the busiest places in the country: Times Square in New York.
Psatta said the company operates some 300,000 billboards across the country and that the story really hit his team hard, leading them to reach out to Astarita through his social media platforms.
Astarita has been searching for a kidney donor for years, taking drastic actions recently as his condition has gotten worse. He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD.
It affects the kidneys and other organs, and doctors say it’s hereditary. His mother had it and did not survive dialysis.
“I am currently in stage 5 kidney failure or end-stage renal disease,” Astarita writes on his website. “In this last stage, kidneys function below 15 percent of their normal rate.”
His post continuesL “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.”
You can learn more about living donation on the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) website or by calling the NKF’s free, confidential helpline at 855-653-2273.
If you want to talk to someone who’s already donated a kidney, NKF can also help.