'Grandpa needs a kidney:' River Hills man hopes I-43 sign stands out

Taking a need for a kidney transplant to new heights, a River Hills man has put up billboards in his desperate search to find a donor.

You may have driven by the billboards aimed at getting a new kidney for Jim Ippolite. He's one of more than 100,000 people across the nation in need of an organ transplant.

Billboards line the interstate, trying to grab the attention of drivers, but there is one near I-43 and Hampton Avenue that a River Hills man hopes stands out.

"All it takes is one person," said Ippolite. "You have to remain positive and hope that the one person is out there.

The billboard reads, "My grandpa needs a kidney."

"I still only have very little kidney function, so I am in need of a kidney donor and that’s what I’m striving for," said Ippolite.

Ippolite was told his kidney was failing in May 2020. He was initially on dialysis and has only 15%  kidney function. He's been placed on a transplant waiting list and asked friends, family and social media, but no donors have worked out.

"I have these grandkids, and we all want to live, and we want to live as long as we can and for me, I need that kidney," said Ippolite.

Ippolite is one about 2,000 people on a transplant waiting list in the state.

"To be on that transplant waiting list and not knowing if you’re going to get that second chance, people have become advocates for themselves," said Colleen McCarthy with Versiti.

Versiti is one of 57 federally designated organ procurement organizations in the United States. They say anyone can sign up and donate.

"Those people who are on the transplant waiting list, they’re suffering," said McCarthy. "They deal with a chronic disease every single day."

Jim Ippolite

Ippolite said he's hopeful his message is seen and he can continue his life with a new kidney.

"It’d just be fantastic," said Ippolite. "You know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel."

If you would like to help Jim Ippolite, please send an email to: helpmygrandpajim@gmail.com. To learn more about his journey, visit his website. To learn more about organ donation, head over to Versiti's organ donation page.