ATLANTA - Oscar David Serrano has learned to live with all the challenges that come with kidney disease.
Every night, for more than a year, he's had to hook up his catheter up to a cycler, which is a dialysis machine set up the in the bedroom of his Lilburn home.
"My life becomes my disease. I hook up to this machine and spend 11 hours connected to it while it removes all the toxins from my body. It's 25 feet long, so I can't go far," Serrano said.
The 51 year old year old Delta fight attendant has been grounded by the disease since he was diagnosed in 2014. Missing a dialysis treatment would jeopardize his health, not to mention his position on the long list of Georgians waiting for a new kidney.
"Right now, waiting on a cadaver kidney is 5 to 6 years. That's if I last that long. A lot of people die on dialysis," he said.
Serrano's partner, Mick Coleman, and other relatives have tried, but have not been able to help. And Serrano says asking strangers for a vital organ just isn't that easy. So instead of asking, the Gwinnett County man started posting. But we're not just talking Facebook. He's placed hundreds of posters at shopping centers, coffee shops, all over his car and even on utility poles throughout Piedmont Park.
"I thought to myself, if i just sit here waiting for the hospital to call me about a cadaver kidney that won't even last as long as a living donor, I will be dead by that time," he said.
David's signs direct would-be donors to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, where Serrano has been on the living donor waiting list since July 2015.
"I've had a lot of strangers who tried, but it just didn't work out for any number of reasons. The criteria is tough and it's really hard to pass,"
Even the leads that didn't pan out still Give Serrano hope. That's why he and Mick will keep posting the kidney requests until the right stranger makes the call.
"I just can't imagine meeting that person and getting to say, 'Do you have any idea what you're doing? You're giving me my life back.'"
People who want to donate must meet very is very specific criteria as it relates to health and even availability. It can also be very costly for donors depending on the type of leave they're allowed to use.
That's why Serrano is working hard to get Georgia and Washington lawmakers to offer more support to living donors when it comes to paid leave and other expenses.
For more information about helping Oscar David Serrano or any other kidney patient in need, visit www.Piedmont.org/livingdonor. You can also learn more at https://www.kidney.org/.