Local father receives kidney from stranger thanks to sign and social media

- A local man was seriously ill due to kidney failure with no solution in sight until a stranger stepped up. Now, they both want everyone to understand what a difference everybody can make if they’re just willing to help people for goodness sake.

It's been just over a year since  Joe Weissinger explained to Fox 29's Bill Anderson that the daily hours of dialysis for kidney failure had gotten so bad that he was taking to social media to try and find a kidney donor largely because of the desperation he felt as a father of two young children.

“My son is older but my daughter was less than a year old and we were seriously thinking about with our family growing we thought it was time to get this rolling along.  I need to be there for them as a Dad," Joe said.

They launched the “Joe Needs a Kidney” Facebook page that gained significant exposure when his son little Joe was spotted at last year’s Mummers parade holding a sign that they still have.

They knew it was a long shot. Trying to find a kidney donor on social media is basically looking for a miracle.  But, people began sharing the page, some getting tested to see if they were a match but not really thinking much of it.  Until it got to Mary.

She shared it hoping others might be able to help not realizing that she would eventually be recognized as a match. 

Just like that "Joe Needs a Kidney" became "Joe Found a Kidney." Mary a complete stranger was a match.

“I kept passing all the tests. I kept going I had my husband’s support and we just kept going.  I felt like it was the right thing to do and when you do the right thing you can’t go wrong," Mary explained. 

Just four months after the successful transplant Mary is pretty matter of fact about the donation to her new friend but to Joe and his family, it was a life-saving gesture.

Thanks to social media and a new friend, he’ll be around to keep in touch for many more years.

“Because of Mary sharing this wonderful gift for me and my family I’m going to be the Dad that I can be for my son and daughter and just be the person I want to be," Joe said. 

As for Mary, she hopes that more people realize the power we all have to save lives.

“We need more living donors because 12 people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant but it doesn't have to be that way," Mary said. 

If we think and then act for goodness sake.

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