Billboard plea for life-saving kidney donor

by: Tom Regan Updated:

Hale, 22, is engaged to be married. She said her vascular system is so weakened that it's possible she may no longer be able to receive dialysis to cleanse her blood.
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

The family of a Gwinnett County woman who has had both kidneys removed is posting messages on highway billboards in metro Atlanta seeking a matching donor.

"I'm kind of running out of time. That kind of thing," Mandie Hale said.

Hale, who is 22 years old and engaged to be married, requires near-constant dialysis.

She told Channel 2's Tom Regan that her vascular system is so weakened that it's possible she may no longer be able to receive dialysis to cleanse her blood.

Hale's medical problems developed at age 2, when she suffered kidney failure following an E. coli infection.

When she turned 12, her mother donated a kidney that was subsequently rejected by Hale's body.

For two years, her family has sought to find a matching donor. In desperation, her mother contacted a billboard company to post a message seeking potential donors.

"The doctors told us she has to have a kidney. And I told them we were not going down without a fight," said Hale's mother, Joanne Coats.

A media company, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, offered to post the message on a dozen digital billboards in metro Atlanta at no charge to the family.

Coats said she is immensely grateful to the company and said they have received responses from the public.

"We have seven, eight or nine living donors checked. They have not matched -- we assumed because of the antibodies in Mandie," Coats said.

Coats has partnered with Piedmont Hospital and the medical center's living donor program in an effort to find a matching donor for Hale. She said years of dialysis and treatment is wearing her out.

"The dialysis makes you sick. You don't feel good. You're tired. I have the energy level of a 70-year-old," Hale said.

Hale said she and her fiancé have not set a date for their wedding, and are holding out hope that a matching donor will step forward.

"Somebody, hopefully, will be a match and it literally will be saving my life," Hale said.

Hale also said she wants to raise public awareness of the need for organ donation.

http://bcove.me/wjg3ekgz