Southern Wisconsin father of 3 finds viral fame during search fo - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Southern Wisconsin father of 3 finds viral fame during search for new kidney

Posted: Updated:

WALWORTH COUNTY (WISN) — A Walworth County man is doing everything he can to find a new kidney. He wore a T-shirt to Tuesday night’s Brewers game pleading for a living donor. A woman in the crowd took a photo of the shirt and that photo has gone viral.

“We got great seats,” said Lenny Zwieg. “Fifth row, third base line, pretty sweet,”

For the game, Zwieg ditched his Brewers colors for the t-shirt instead. The t-shirt says on the front “share your spare” and has a picture of a kidney. On the back, the shirt says “father of 3 needs a kidney, blood type O, 262-757-5498”

“My wife said you know ‘are you going to wear your shirt tonight?’ and I said ‘no I’m going to wear my Brewers shirt’” But Zwieg’s wife Becky Roberts insisted. “I’m glad he listened!” she said.

Payton Coron, a fellow fan at Miller Park, saw his shirt and took a picture. “First, I noticed his beard,” she said laughing. “That is what kind of got me to look at him,”

Coron posted the pic on social media and its’ gone viral with more than 12,000 shares.“I snapchatted it and the next day I posted it to Facebook and it went off,” she said.

“Craziness,” added Zwieg. “Going from a phone call here or there a message here or there to just hundreds of them,”

Becky says their phone has been ringing off the hook.

“It just didn’t stop. I was up until 2:30 in the morning and I fell asleep with the phone in my hands,” she said. “Nothing makes you feel more supported than all of these messages,”

Zwieg’s kidney trouble started in 2004 when he contracted Dengue Fever while in Africa. Since then, his kidneys have only gotten worse.

“My kidney condition is IGA nephropathy. It’s a filtering issue with your kidneys,” said Zwieg. His says right now, his kidneys are only operating at nine percent. He’s been on dialysis three times a week for five hours at a time for the past 18 months.

“It keeps you alive but on the back end of that, the time you give up is precious especially with the kids,” said Zwieg. “My kids, my three reasons for being, that’s why I fight so hard, that’s why I go through what I go through,”

But he hopes with his new found viral fame, his hero – his perfect match -- will come forward.

“I want myself back. I want to be myself. I want to do the things I was able to do,” he said.

If you have Type O blood and you’re interested in donating a kidney to Lenny, call 262-757-5498. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a living donor visit, click here.  

Powered by Frankly