In December 2013, 23-year-old Chrisine Royles was diagnosed with lupus and a few months later discovered that she also had a second autoimmune disease called ANCA vasculitis. Her doctors told her that she needed a new kidney and she was added to a waiting list of 100,000 people. Currently, Royles lives in Maine with her two-year-old son, Talan.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, fewer than 17,000 receive a kidney each year, with about a third of the kidneys coming from living donors. Tragically, in 2013 alone, 4,453 patients died while waiting for kidney transplants.
Those figures startled Royles so she decided to take matters into her own hands. She made her car into a rolling billboard and asked for a kidney in bright yellow paint on her rear window. She wrote, “Looking for someone to donate me their kidney. Must have type O blood.” On the vehicle Royles also included her phone number.
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Remarkably, a sympathetic couple saw the message and decided that they had to do something. Ashley Dall-Leighton read the message to her husband, Josh, and said, “I looked over and I go, ‘Oh, my God, that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read. And he’s like, ‘What?’ And I read it out loud, and he said, ‘Did you get the number? Text her right now.’”
Ashley and Josh Dall-Leighton have three young children. Josh said, “I just looked at my wife and said, ‘I have to try. I think it was the fact that I have three kids of my own, and that really resonated with me. If (my wife) needed a kidney and I couldn’t provide for her, I would hope that somebody else would kind of step up and help her out.”
The public relations manager for the National Kidney Foundation, Sean Roach, explained that sometimes people find unique ways to find organs. He said, “We see people using social medial or putting ads out for altruistic donors. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that.”
Now Royles is tentatively scheduled for surgery in May. She said, “I’m shocked that someone is going to do this for me. The fact that someone with a young family is going to take time off work to help some random person is unbelievable to me.”
Learn more about this incredible story in the video below.