Oregon RN draws 60 kidney donors through billboard campaign

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

Roxanne Loomis, RN, a 65-year-old emergency nurse from Eugene, Ore., drew 60 kidney donors through a billboard campaign after being on dialysis for four years, according to Medscape Medical News.

"Dialysis was draining my life away," and the sessions limited her ability to work, she told Medscape Medical News.

Ms. Loomis, whose kidneys had been failing for 10 years, got the idea for a billboard campaign from nephrologist William Gutheim, MD, who told her a former patient had taken out a billboard to solicit kidney donations.

In 2012, Ms. Loomis was listed on the deceased kidney donor wait list, but the wait times in her region were at least seven years. Her family and friends were not matches.

To begin the billboard campaign, Ms. Loomis and her brother bought the original billboard, which read, "NEED: KIDNEY DONOR FOR EUGENE RN" with her phone number. After they purchased the billboard, another billboard company, Lamar, called to ask if they could run her ad on five additional billboards in Portland and Salem, Ore.

Ms. Loomis said she received about 60 calls within a few weeks, which were referred to Legacy Health in Portland. One call from a fellow nurse in Portland would result in a successful match and surgery Feb. 7, just over a year after putting up the first billboard.

Although Ms. Loomis' match did not come directly from the Portland nurse, whose blood was not a good fit, that nurse set off a number of donations. On behalf of Ms. Loomis, the Portland nurse donated her kidney to a woman in Maryland. After a series of exchanges, Ms. Loomis ended up receiving a kidney from a 32-year-old athletic trainer from Chicago.

Now, Ms. Loomis works part time at a small nurse-training company. "You don't know how sick you are until you are no longer sick," she said.

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