Back in August of 2017, we reported on one of the unlikeliest of medical stories. A man, 60-year-old Robert Leibowitz, was spotted with his five children at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, specifically because of the strange shirt that he was wearing.
As he pushed one of his children along in a wheelchair, several people noticed the back of Leibowitz's shirt, which featured a simple but powerful message:
"In Need Of Kidney O Positive," and listed a phone number.
Leibowitz was suffering from kidney failure and was having no luck finding a donor, which led to his daughter coming up with the plan to try advertising this on the shirt. "It is very hard to get a kidney and there are not a lot of donors out there," Leibowitz explained, "or with O positive (blood type). I am universal, but I have to get an O back."
It was soon spotted by Rocio and Juan Sandoval, a couple who were vacationing at the park, and the two not only listened to Leibowitz's story, but offered to share his message across social media for him.
While Leibowitz simply hoped that the message might reach a few hundred more people, it soon went massively viral on the internet and exploded, leading to him apparently receiving dozens of calls from potential donors who thought they might be able to help.
After a bonafide viral sensation and months of screenings, Leibowitz found his donor, and just last week, he finally received his kidney.
Speaking to CBS news, Leibowitz explains the situation a bit more in-depth, stating that:
"I thought 'You know, if I can get one person who's my blood type to just respond and maybe that's my match...You know it's worth the $35 investment for the shirt. This amazing couple, Rocio and Juan Sandoval, took a picture of it and said do you mind if I post it? Within the first week 90,000 Facebook shares. Three days walking around the park... my phone wouldn't stop ringing."
Recently, he found his donor in the form of Richie Sully, 39, a father of two from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Like many, he saw the post and got in contact with Leibowitz.
“I have an extra kidney, it’s not like I need them both,” he told CBS.
The surgery was performed this past Thursday at New York-Presbyterian Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. So far, it's been a complete success, and both men are safely in recovery.
"There are no words, no matter how much I say how much I appreciate it," Leibowitz told NBC4 New York days before the surgery. He plans to take both Sully and the Sandovals to Disney World as a thank-you.