A man from Port Stanley remains hopeful he’ll find a new kidney for his ailing wife, after his plea for a donor went viral.
Fearing his diabetic wife Angela De Decker would be forced to wait years before receiving a transplant, Jim Howie took the matter into his own hands by posting a sign on his front lawn.
Both widowed, Jim and Angela have been married for 14 years.
Angela has battled diabetes for 62 years and her kidney function has now fallen to around 25 per cent, which is when serious complications start to develop.
Jim decided to take the matter into his own hands, and be as proactive as possible.
“To go on dialysis and stuff, you have to be around 15 per cent kidney function, and then you may have to wait for years to get a kidney transplant so that’s why we’re going forward to try to get people to donate organs now so she can have a better quality of life,” he said.
Angela misses being able to play with her grandchildren.
“Last time I was down there [at her grandchildren’s home] was Easter time,” she said. “I couldn’t play with them, and they asked their mother why I couldn’t play with them after I left, and she told them ‘because I was sick.'”
Her medical condition has taken a great toll on her life.
“It’s getting more difficult,” Angela said. “I have no energy, and I’m always cold, and my husband is just the opposite, and I have to wear sweaters in the house and everything to keep warm.”
After seeing something similar done in Michigan a few years ago, Jim put up a small lawn sign that simply read “Wife Needs a Kidney, Can U Help” and included his phone number.
Someone snapped a photo and posted it to social media. Within a few days, people from all over southwestern Ontario started reaching out.
“My phone started ringing, with people from Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham, St. Thomas, London, Leamington, putting their names forward to us to get on our list to donate a kidney and they told us right over the phone, ‘By all means, we’ll only be too glad for your Mrs.’ and they had their own reasons too,” Jim said.
He’s emotional overwhelmed by the support they’ve received.
“We were crying this morning at some of the stories we heard from people,” said Jim, his voice cracking. “They’re still calling, and on Facebook, we’ve got so many people that replied to us, and God, there’s so many good people out there willing to help anybody out in a time of need.”
They have a medical appointment in a few weeks to see if there’s a potential match for Angela with one of the callers.