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A Michigan man who needs a kidney transplant found a unique way to ask for help — by painting a message on his SUV.
It's not the first time someone has used their windshield to advertise their need for a transplant, but Roger Sturgill has an advantage: He's a delivery man, so his Chevrolet TrailBlazer gets plenty of exposure.
"I've seen people take pictures of it, and sometimes they ask me to roll my window down and they give me money," Sturgill, 27, told TODAY.com. "My wife drives it sometimes, too, and the other day someone threw a coin at the window to get her attention."
That person wasn't the right blood type to help — Sturgill is A positive — but he said he's gotten dozens of calls from other people willing to donate since writing the message on his vehicle about a month ago.
He was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease after being hospitalized on Christmas of 2013.
"My ankle and sides were like balloons, they were swollen big-time," said Sturgill, who lives in Fraser, Michigan. "I spent Christmas night there through New Year's, and that's when the pathologist told me my kidneys were working at 3 percent."
"My age is the only reason I was walking at the time," he said. "They started me on dialysis right away."
Now Sturgill, who works at sandwich chain Jimmy John's, has a catheter in his stomach and does 12 to 14 hours of dialysis every day.
While he is on a waiting list for a kidney in both Michigan and Ohio, it can take several years before he gets a transplant. There are nearly 3,000 people on the list in Michigan, as of last month, according to the University of Michigan Transplant Center. There are about 2,600 people on Ohio's waiting list, according to the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Because of the long waiting lists and the short supply of cadaver organs, patients often have better luck finding a live donor.
Sturgill got the idea to write a message on his SUV through a support group he's part of on Facebook. Photos of his vehicle have since gone viral on social media, and Sturgill said he's gotten between 40 and 50 messages from people asking how to help.
While he waits for a match — his aunt is also being tested — Sturgill is confident his approach will be successful. He says finding a donor would change his life.
"I wouldn't have to do dialysis every day," Sturgill said. "It would mean less pills I would have to take. It would mean I could go swimming ... I could go on roller coasters."
He tells people who want to help to contact the St. John Transplant Specialty Center in Detroit and begin the testing process to see if they're a potential candidate for donation.