Woman Searches for New Kidney via Newspaper Classifieds

By: Joe Strupp A Wisconsin woman who needs a kidney transplant took her search for a donor to two local newspapers, where she ran a week's worth of classified ads that have already prompted hopeful results.

Linda Thom, 60, of Cadott, Wis. -- about 200 miles northwest of Milwaukee -- paid for the ads in The Chippewa Herald of Chippewa Falls, Wis., and the Leader-Telegram of Eau Claire, Wis. Each ad ran from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5, Thom told E&P in a phone interview. Since then, she has gotten about a dozen responses, as well as a radio interview that prompted three more offers.

"The calls are still coming in and it has been wonderful," Thom said. "It shows that newspaper is the best way to go because it gets the word around."

The ad, according to The Associated Press, stated: "KIDNEY DONOR DESPERATELY NEEDED. Type O blood, family members tested, but due to health problems none can help save my life. If you or anyone you know can give the gift of a kidney please contact Linda (715) 289-4190. Cathy Garvey at the transplant center Fairview, MN. 1-800-328-5465."

Thom said all of those making offers are being tested, with no word on a viable match as of Monday.

Married with two children and three grandchildren, Thom had been a clerk/receptionist at a local shoe company until she was forced to take a leave of absence last year. She has dropped to 17% kidney function. She said both her father and grandfather died of kidney-related health problems.

Thom tried unsuccessfully to find a match among family members, including a cousin who offered to help and discovered he had kidney disease of his own. The estimated waiting time for a donor is about five years at The Transplant Center at Fairview-University Medical Center in Minneapolis, where Thom wants to have her operation.

Among those who have responded to the ads were an inmate from a county jail looking for a ticket out and a woman who asked, "What's in it for me?"

Thom said she came up with the idea for a newspaper ad after meeting another kidney patient who had sought the same road to recovery recently, and hearing that a third had received a kidney through a newspaper ad in 2003.

"The only way to get it out is through the newspaper," she said.


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