The family of a granddad who will die without a kidney transplant has launched an advertising campaign to find him a donor — on Facebook.
In 1984, Dan Desmarais, 60, from Sandwich, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes loss of kidney function, as well as loss of vision and hearing.
The pharmacist is now in the late stages of renal failure and has been on transplant lists since November, but the average wait for a new kidney is seven to ten years — time Dan doesn’t have.
Diagnosis: Dan Desmarais, who is pictured with his grandchildren Violet, Max, and Zoe,suffers from Alport Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes loss of kidney function
Desperate bid: Dan’s family has launched a Facebook campaign to find him a kidney donor for a life-saving transplant
‘There are about 100,000 people in the USA on the kidney transplant lists, and sadly eleven people die every day waiting,’ Dan explained.
‘The average wait is about seven to ten years and with my kidney function the way it is now, I know I don’t have that time left. It’s such a waiting game and those numbers of course weigh on your mind.’
Without a new kidney, the grandfather-of-three will have to begin the process of dialysis in around six months.
Dialysis replaces the function of purifying blood, which is normally carried out by the kidneys, but it will significantly reduce his quality of life and reduce his life expectancy.
Family: The 60-year-old pharmacist from Sandwich, Massachusetts, is pictured with his wife Lisa, children Matthew, Emily, and Stephanie and grandchildren Zoe, Violet, and Max
Emergency: The grandfather is now in the late stages of renal failure and has been on transplant lists since November. Dan and seven-year-old Zoe are pictured at Fenway Park
Dan is adopted and his only blood relatives are his three children Stephanie, 31, Emily, 23, and Matthew, 29, who were ruled out of a transplant for medical reasons.
‘I’m adopted so I don’t have an extensive genetic tree to work with and my list of biological relatives who could be donors is quite limited,’ Dan said.
‘It was a really humbling experience for me because I am asking for someone to help me achieve the basic quality of life that most people have.’
None of Dan’s friends or relatives were suitable matches, so in a desperate bid to save his life the family resorted to launching an online campaign.
Desperate measures: Without a new kidney, the grandfather-of-three will have to begin the process of dialysis in around six months, which will reduce his life expectancy
Last chance: None of Dan’s friends or relatives were suitable matches for a kidney transplant
They are even spending $30 a week on Facebook ads that appear on people’s timelines in hopes of finding a kind stranger willing to part with one of their kidneys.
The appeal reads: ‘SEARCHING FOR A KIDNEY DONOR. PLEASE HELP! Dan is a loving family man in desperate need of a kidney. He’s on the waiting list for a deceased donor but the wait time is 5-10 years.
‘Unfortunately, he can’t wait that long. His kidney function is declining rapidly. We need to find a living donor to give him the give him the gift of life so he can enjoy more time with family.’
People with any blood type could be a match, and Dan’s insurance and family will cover the cost of all testing, expenses and medical care.
Doing her part: Dan’s granddaughter Zoe is pictured campaigning to find her granddad a new kidney
Going for it: ‘My dad always said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.” So here we are, asking for help,’ his daughter Stephanie said
If he has the transplant, doctors predict Dan will enjoy a normal life expectancy.
‘I was absolutely crushed when I found out I couldn’t be donor for him. It was devastating,’ Dan’s eldest daughter Stephanie said.
‘We’re such a close family and I can’t imagine a life without him, which is why we started to think about other ways we could get his story out there.
‘My dad always said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.” So here we are, asking for help. We can’t imagine our lives without our dad.’