GREENSBORO, Ga. - Georgia police detective Raleigh Callaway says he’s been overwhelmed by the online response to his need for a new kidney.
Callaway and his wife, Kristi, spoke with Channel 2’s Jessica Jaglois Friday about their online campaign to find a transplant match.
Channel 2 Action News was the first station to share their story Thursday and the reaction from the community was overwhelming and amazing to the Callaway family. Nearly 19,000 people shared the post on Facebook and more than 4,000 people retweeted their story on Twitter.
“I cannot say how much that means to me and our family,” said Kristi.
Raleigh, who has worked at the city of Greensboro Police Department for 24 years, says he’s used to helping others, but it can be difficult to be the one that needs to ask for help.
Raleigh is in stage 5 kidney failure. He’s suffered from hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease for years. At this point, his kidneys are functioning at just 10 percent and he will most likely be starting dialysis in the next 30 days. Earlier this week, the hospital told them they should begin looking for a donor.
“When he finally decided he wanted to share it with everybody it was a big deal because he had kept it private for so long,” said Kristi.
So Kristi called her best friend Brandy Angel, who also happens to be a photographer, and asked if she'd help take family photos with the couples 2 and 4-year-old daughters to share on Facebook. Angel told her to bring along a handwritten sign with the words, "Our Daddy needs a Kidney."
It is a picture perfect moment that has now been viewed online over and over and over again. The Callaways’ hope all those views will lead to a new kidney for Raleigh.
“I hope and pray that I find a donor to be able to continue my daily activities, including working and watching my girls grow up,” said Raleigh.
Kristi says her daughters don't know their daddy is sick even though millions of people do. She and her husband hoped a few family members and friends who saw their plea would help, but instead, they've gotten responses from across the country.
“It's just amazing to have so many responses from people and shows you there's a lot of caring people in this world,” Raleigh told Jaglois.
Hopefully, one of those caring people will be Raleigh's match.
The Callaways say Emory has already received more than 300 phone calls from people wanting to help. It should take about six weeks to see if there's a match.
If you are interested in helping Raleigh, you can contact the Emory transplant center at 855-366-7989. Let them know you are interested in being tested as a donor match for Raleigh Callaway, birthdate 3/6/65.
To view the family’s Facebook page click here.