WESTLAND, Mich. (WJBK) - A family from Westland made a plea last weekend to find a kidney for their mom who is in dire need. Now, that plea for help is going viral and a living donor could save her life.
Laurie Wilke was diagnosed with stage five renal failure in 2009. Most of her days are spent on dialysis and she's seen many hospitalizations and surgeries - and she's in desperate need of a kidney.
"She's been on the donor list for two years and unfortunately we haven't had a match so we're just trying to reach out especially on mother's day to try to find a kidney," her daughter, Ashley, said.
On Mother's Day, her three children and six grandchildren got up early to take this picture and start a social media campaign:
The mission was simple: find a living donor for mom.
"I'm just really hoping we can find a match for my mom - get her her kidney so she can stay with us forever," her son, Josh, said.
It would be an amazing gift for Laurie and her family. As it turns out becoming a living donor is also one of the greatest gifts, as Madirah Muhammad knows.
"When you are able to help someone live a longer life to improve their standard of living it is always a great experience," Muhammad said.
Muhammad, a teacher, donated a kidney to one of her students in December 2014 at Henry Ford Hospital. Six weeks later she was back to work. Ten months later, she was running a marathon. Today, her student, Aja Booth, is graduating and heading into the medical field.
"She is not on dialysis at all. She's been doing a little traveling here and there. She has a new lease on life and I told her to take care of my kidney," Muhammad said.
It's the gift of life and one that Dr. Jason Denny hopes more people will consider. 100,000 people nationwide are waiting for a kidney - 3,000 are here in Michigan - and becoming a donor all starts with a blood test.
"It could be friend, it could be family, it could be church member, fraternity member, it could be anything, just find someone because a live donor is very much better than a deceased donor. You get it when you want to get it. Often you can get it even before you start dialysis and you know what you're getting," Denny said.
If you're considering becoming a living donor or if you just want to get out for the Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo on Sunday, check out the links below.