A message on wheels: Family desperate for kidney

Posted at 10:33 PM, Nov 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-29 22:33:05-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A father says he is in desperate need of a new kidney, and his family is rallying to find him one using an unconventional method. It's a mobile message, not only spreading across the state but the country, as people from Minnesota to Alabama offer up their kidneys to the local dad.

"We figured, let's give this a go and see if it works, it was kind of a last option," said Mike Hoenes, who was diagnosed with Alport syndromenearly 25 years ago. It's a genetic disorder that eventually causes the kidneys to fail. "I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, just the pure exhaustion you feel when your body goes through the treatments."

The diagnosis has left Hoenes with two options: dialysis treatments, which work to eliminate waste and fluids from the blood, or a kidney transplant.

"There are days you just want to stop, you don't want to do it anymore," Hoenes said of the dialysis treatments he undergoes three days a week for four hours at a time.

"There are times I have trouble walking, there are times I feel miserable," Hoenes said.

Hoenes' wife, Anne, decided several weeks ago to advertise her husband's need for a kidney on her car. The ad says, "Husband needs O-positive kidney," along with their e-mail address.

According to Gift of Life, Hoenes is one of nearly 3,000 people in Michigan waiting for a kidney, and one may not be available for four years.

"If I waited four years, I might have something else wrong with me," Hoenes said. "Before we started this on the back of our cars, things weren't moving at all."

Although 50 people have offered to donate, that doesn't mean they're a perfect O-positive match.

Hoenes is still looking for all of the help he can get. The family has started a GoFundMe page to help them out.