One chronically ill father is hoping for a little extra Disney magic.
A single father of five who has been suffering with a chronic kidney disease since the age of 12 took a unique approach to finding the kidney donation he desperately needs.
Last week, while visiting Walt Disney World with his family, 59-year-old Robert Leibowitz donned a white T-shirt reading, “In Need of Kidney O Positive,” followed by a phone number to call.
Although Leibowitz is currently on five different transplant lists, he hasn’t been able to find a match for several years. Because the O+ kidney he needs is quite rare, he has been urged by his doctor to do everything he can to find a match, Orlando WKMG reported, spurring him to make the shirt for his Disney vacation. Still, Leibowitz likely never expected the response he received after wearing the shirt through the Magic Kingdom.
When fellow visitors Rocio Yanira Sandoval and her husband Juan spotted the shirt in the park, they asked if they could take a photo of Leibowitz to share online.
“This man turned around with the biggest smile, so grateful and said ‘Yes, please!,’” Sandoval’s later Facebook post reads. “He gave us both a hug and said ‘Thank you, please share this with the world’.” Since Sandoval posted that image and caption on Facebook on August 27, the post has gotten over 87,000 shares and 13,000 likes, as well as many messages of support and compassion for Leibowitz’s family.
A day after the post was shared, Leibowitz also told Disney’s parenting and lifestyle site Babble that he had already received over 200 texts from strangers who were O+ and wanted to be tested for eligibility — a number that has likely risen since the popularity of the post has grown.
Although there’s no word yet on the possibility of a match for Leibowitz, here’s hoping that the success of his unconventional tactic somehow leads to a miracle.