Grand Canyon University freshman Karen Aguayo and her friends were shopping at their local Costco in Arizona when they stumbled upon a man who caught their attention. The fellow consumer relied upon a motorized shopping cart to navigate the store, but that wasn’t what surprised them.
It was the shirt he was wearing. From the moment the teens read the back of the man’s shirt, it had them whispering amongst themselves.
The man, Robert Duran, 67, and his wife have become accustomed to the attention the shirt has garnered them. They ignore the stares, but definitely are willing to talk to anyone about the message the shirt proclaims.
The shirt is plain black with white lettering, but it definitely is memorable once a person reads it. Robert and his wife hope that once someone checks out the shirt — someone like Karen — he or she will take action.
Robert is experiencing kidney failure and endures dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time. He finally was placed on an organ transplant waiting list after doctors diagnosed him with stage five kidney disease.
So when Karen and friends read Robert’s shirt, they decided to stop him and ask Robert a few questions. His shirt read:
“Kidney donor needed, Type B+, Ask me how.”
The college kids felt compelled to respond, so Karen posted a photo she had taken on Twitter. Their new mission is to help Robert and the results have been overwhelming — many people have reached out to Robert, and Karen’s tweet has been retweeted more than 260,000 times.
She told AZCentral:
“Once I read his shirt I felt something in my heart … I decided to post it on social media because I thought maybe someone out there that has a Twitter can donate theirs or just help with a simple retweet to find him a donor.”
It turns out Robert isn’t the only person in Arizona waiting for a perfect match. More than 2,100 individuals need an organ, according to Donor Network of Arizona.
We came across this man at Costco and we asked him about his shirt. He said he has been looking for a donor for four years and still nothing. Please do me a favor and RT this. For more info about him DM me. pic.twitter.com/yHfDJGMw50
— kxrn🦋 (@_kerrrn_) March 28, 2018
In fact, more than 95,287 Americans total are on a wait list for a kidney transplant, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Surprisingly, there are more people waiting for kidney transplants than for any other organ.
It isn’t necessarily the dialysis and the side effects of the disease that is the toughest on Robert and his family. The hardest part is the wait.
Robert confessed to AZCentral that his wife has had a difficult time. Every time the phone rings, will it be the call for the kidney he needs to save his life?
“It is tearing her apart.”
Robert said he cannot believe that a simple shopping trip to Costco led to an encounter that just might save him. Life is full of unexpected moments and this was definitely one of them. He refers to Karen and her friends as “a saint.”
“I think the Lord brought them down for me.”
While he waits for his angel on earth to rescue him with a vital matching kidney, Robert encouraged everyone to consider becoming an organ donor.