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Woman puts up billboard to find kidney donor

An Albany woman has taken her search for a kidney donor to the streets of Albany. She has purchased ad space on a billboard on Central Avenue and on five CDTA buses.

"It says, 'wanted, kidney donor and the blood type,'" said Myrna Bernstein, from Albany.

Bernstein said she has a hereditary kidney disease. Her brother has it and has received a kidney donation. She said her mother had the kidney disease and so did her uncle. They had to go on dialysis.

Bernstein said she is on the same path.

"My kidney function is deteriorating," said Bernstein.

She has not started dialysis yet, but is ready. She just hopes a kidney donor comes along first.

"I have my suitcase packed in my car, just in case," she said.

Bernstein is on a donor waiting list. She has posted signs across town and has even had live donors tested already. But she hasn't found a match. She said the requirements for a donor match are strict. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 108,000 people are waiting for a kidney in the United States. The common wait time is 5-7 years. That's why Bernstein decided to try something else.

"One day I was just driving along the highway and jokingly I said to myself, "I should take out a billboard," said Bernstein.

But there is a bit of truth in every joke and the billboard idea became reality. Bernstein has paid for a billboard ad along Central Avenue and ads on five CDTA buses.

"It's an investment in my life, it's an investment in my life," she said.

She hopes the ads lead to a live donor match. But she also hopes that people receive a bigger message.

"Not only for myself. Hopefully I will get a donor from this, but also to make the community aware of the fact that there is a need out there, an unspoken need," said Bernstein.

Bernstein is looking for either "type a" or "type o" blood.

Bernstein said that a new resource has recently been posted online for people looking for donors.

http://kidneyconnection.org/wpkidney/

For those who would like to reach out to Bernstein to give her help can do so by e-mailing donor4me@yahoo.com.
 
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