EUGENE — A woman who needs a kidney transplant is trying to reach potential donors through a billboard along Interstate 5.
Roxanne Loomis, 64, a Eugene nurse, has been on the kidney donor list for four and a half years, reported The Register-Guard. She learned that her kidneys were failing in 2004 and took steps to deal with the disease, but her kidneys were barely functioning by 2014.
When her doctor suggested she search for a live donor, Loomis reached out to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. About 30 people offered to be a donor, but they were all disqualified during testing. One person, for example, had deformed kidneys; another had high blood pressure. A third person was disqualified because he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It's been very frustrating," said Loomis. "It's a very long process to become a kidney donor."
Loomis said her doctor, William Gutheim, also mentioned that one of his former patients found a donor by using a billboard. Loomis began searching for a blank billboard four years ago and recently found one along I-5 in south Eugene. The billboard company rented Loomis the space at a discount, and about a week and a half ago she put up a picture of herself with the words "Need: kidney donor for Eugene RN."
Since then, she has received dozens of text messages and phone calls each day.
Loomis said six people who responded to the ad have already started testing to see if they can be a donor.
"They must be very altruistic, kind, giving people, that's all I can figure," she said. "And they want to do something to make a difference and save someone's life."
Loomis worked in the emergency room for 20 years before her health declined. She now works two days a week at Serenity Lane Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center.
She said she was in the ER for "a lot of crucial events, and hopefully made a difference and saved a few people's lives in my day. And I think people are motivated to help this person who has helped others."
Loomis is currently undergoing dialysis three times a week. Her closest family members can't donate a kidney because of the hereditary nature of her disease.
She said the people who have responded to the billboard are brave.
"I have no words for how much this would mean to me," she said. "You're saving a life."