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Saskatoon woman using car to advertise kidney donor search


The simple message on the back window of Debbie Onishenko’s car is hoping to produce the miracle donor she's been looking for.

It says:

Kidney needed. Type O. Share your spare.

A diabetic for most of her life, Onishenko knew for some time her kidney could fail, but in the last few weeks she found out her kidney was functioning at only nine per cent. Kidney disease is not only making life painful but also making her need for a new kidney dire.

So she sought out a local sign shop to turn her car into a roving billboard to get the word out.

"If it helps me, I would be so grateful. If it helps anybody, that would be fantastic,” Onishenko said.

According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, anywhere from 50 to 60 people in the province are waiting for a kidney transplant. The average wait time is 2.8 years for a kidney - which is roughly 437 dialysis treatments per person.​

Onishenko said her family and friends have offered, but the match needs to be very specific.

"They've tried, but a lot of them aren't matches. Especially for living donors, you have to be a very good match to the person -- and healthy enough to do it too."

Onishenko got the idea to advertise her kidney search when she saw a man in Ontario do the same. He ended up being successful, and while she’s optimistic she can also find a donor, at the very least, she knows she's increasing organ donation awareness every time she gets in her car.

"Hopefully someone will see it and will realize there are people in need out there,” she said.

Because of a previous heart problem, Onishenko has to undergo peritoneal dialysis instead of blood dialysis, which requires surgery and a longer recovery period. She’s hoping she can avoid the process altogether and find a donor before then.

“It's scary when you first get kidney disease,” Onishenko said. “You're wondering how fast it progresses, how are you doing -- you just accept that you need this to stay alive." Top Stories

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