Waterford, N.J. (WTXF) - When you need a lifesaving organ transplant sometimes your family has to get creative. Some will tell you they'd give the shirts off their backs to get that organ donation. We found a family willing to put shirts on their backs to spread the word about their desperate need.
"I just want to be here for them." So says Janet DiGerolamo as she gathers with her family out back of their Waterford, New Jersey, home on a late summer evening.
The family is in full uniform, all decked out in graphic T-shirts bearing a message they hope will save their beloved mom mom.
“I'm 55 years old and I don't want to live the rest of my life like this," Janet said.
"This" is end-stage renal disease. Her mom had it. So did her uncle and grandmother.
And, since last November, it has forced Janet to spend 3 long nights each week—6 hours at a stretch— undergoing dialysis to do the work of her non-functioning kidneys.
"Our whole life was turned upside down because it revolves around the dialysis treatment."
Her husband, Charles, says the treatments sap Janet’s energy.
“Even the day after, she'll seem to sleep half the day away," he explained.
So Charles came up with an idea— print up a hundred T-shirts, and then a hundred more, bearing the message—'Janet is in need of a kidney for life,' and his cell phone number 856-685-6717 hand them out to family and friends and hit the streets, to get the message in front of as many potential kidney donors as possible.
"I don't try to pressure anybody. But we have actually seen people looking at the shirts taking a second look so that's a start."
Of course, the strategy isn't all about T-shirts. Janet DiGerolamo is already on the kidney donor waiting list at Temple University Hospital in Philly and hopes to learn—perhaps as early as next week—whether she's made the list at Our Lady Of Lourdes in Camden.
While Janet waits these T-shirts—her 3 year old granddaughter Peyton has her own—just might start a conversation with a stranger willing to provide a miracle.
"Hopefully, the phone will start ringing," Charles said.
As for Janet?
"I beat cancer twice in my lifetime and I said, this isn't going to take me down. If it take a T-shirt that's it."