Family receives overwhelming response to kidney for grandpa bill - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Family receives overwhelming response to kidney for grandpa billboard

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We were first to tell you about a billboard featuring a one year old girl asking you to donate a kidney to save her grandpa's life.  Now almost two weeks later the family says they've had a stunning amount of responses.  But have they found a kidney for grandpa?  Well it's actually too soon to know that.  The hospital sends interested donors a test kit, they then have to get blood drawn and send it back, then it takes the hospital two to three weeks to complete more testing to determine if there's a match.  So it'll take at least a month to know if the billboard has found a kidney for grandpa.  But right now the family is very optimistic because over 100 people have responded.

We met Adelynn on her first birthday.  That's when her face was featured on billboards throughout Michiana asking you to donate a kidney and save her grandpa's life.  Now two weeks later, Adelynn's Grandpa, Jerry Graf,  says they've received so many responses he's more optimistic for the future.  "I'm excited, very excited.  If the numbers are right I could come up with one," said Graf.

So many people responded it inundated the hospital.  "IU transplant was not expecting that response, they were overwhelmed," said Jerry's wife, Diana Graf.  But overwhelming the hospital is a good thing because, "they're excited cause even if they don't match Jerry, there are hundreds of other people they can match," said Diane.

Hundreds of people who may be getting a kidney thanks to one year old Adelynn's face.  Her mother, Ragen, is proud, "the idea that she started something, hopefully it becomes a chain reaction."  She's also happy one year old Adelynn has allowed them to teach others about organ donation.  "We are just one family affected by the need for an organ transplant," said Ragen.

And Jerry says he's re learned something from this as well.  "Pay it forward, it'll come.  My father said if you help somebody it'll come back and I believe it's come back 100 fold.  This is a gift that continues giving, it's not like carrying a basket of fruit somewhere, these people are giving me life."

The billboards are down now while the family waits to find a match.  But they'd do it all again, all $2,000 worth, if it means finding a kidney for Jerry and several others.

The family said they are so thankful and appreciative of all the support.  They've received calls from people who are donors or recipients and just want to share their stories.  Jerry said Wednesday morning he had a 91 year old man approach him and say "I don't think I can give you my kidney, but good luck."

The family tells me eventually the transplant center thinks they'll be able to let them know about how many people this has helped but right now it's just too soon.  And they want to help as many people as possible so they say keep calling and emailing if you're interested in donating a kidney.  You can call them at 574-333-7071 or email them at kidneyforgrandpa@gmail.com

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