Man's kidney donor plea on NYC billboard inspires detective


Thirteen people die every day in the U.S. waiting for a kidney to be transplanted. About 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list.

One of them is Marc Weiner, director of professional development at CBS News, whose story was shared on an Instagram account that highlights what CBS News employees are doing, @wearecbsnews.

Weiner is so desperate to find a kidney that he’s making his plea at the Crossroads of the World — on a billboard.

“I want it bad. I don’t want to sound selfish, but I want to be healthier. I want to be able to do things with my family and not be limited,” Weiner told “CBS This Morning” lead national correspondent David Begnaud. 

After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2015, at the age of 50, Weiner underwent surgery to remove his bladder, his prostate and both his kidneys. He’s now cancer-free, but he needs dialysis three times a week.

“I’m very fortunate,” Weiner said. “But dialysis can be an extremely debilitating event.”

Weiner began his public quest in 2018, when a company first donated ad space in Times Square.

NYPD detective Michael Lollo saw that billboard and felt compelled to do something.

“It’s just something that touched me,” Lollo said. “I can’t quite quantify it.”

Despite being total strangers, Lollo got tested to give his kidney to Weiner. But, he wasn’t a match.

Still, he decided to donate his organ to save another stranger.  

“Kindness is contagious, and I would urge people to look into being a living kidney donor, and to look into being a donor now while you’re alive,” Lollo told Begnaud.

Now retired from the NYPD, Lollo is a volunteer with the National Kidney Donation Organization, a non-profit that raises awareness about kidney disease.

“David, I don’t know if you have two kidneys, but if you do, I’m sitting here saying, why?” Lollo said. “There are about 99,000 and change people today that need a kidney. … There’s so many diseases out there that there is no cure. There’s a cure. You could donate a kidney to somebody.”

Through a voucher program, Weiner could receive a life-saving kidney transplant, even if the donor is not a direct match.

He just needs someone to donate a kidney on his behalf, so that he can be entered into the National Kidney Registry, which will then search for his perfect match.

“All Marc needs is basically a partner to go into the National Kidney Registry. And whoever is seeing this broadcast is not just going to save Marc’s life,” Lollo said. “They’re going to save at least one other person because you’re going to be creating a chain.” The average chain is about 3.5 people, he said.

“If you are in the spirit of giving, think about giving your kidney. You’re going to save a life,” Weiner said. “And ultimately, who knows, you may be helping me out.”

To learn more about donating a kidney to Weiner you can go to Inquiries will not go to Weiner.

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