LYNN (CBS) – Miranda LeBrasseur needs a new kidney and she’s not going to stop until she gets one.
So, the mother of two from Lynn has rented out a billboard in Lynn to help her find a donor.
“I’ve seen people put up billboards for missing people, for all kinds of things, so I figured why not put one out there to try and find me a kidney. No one knows I need a kidney unless I tell them,” she says.
LeBrasseur, 42, has high blood pressure and has been a diabetic since she was 17. No one in her family can donate because she says there are too many cancer and diabetes genes.
She’s been on a waiting list for a kidney donation since June 2016, but that’s about six years long.
That forced LeBrasseur to get creative. In the past, she has made t-shirts, bracelets, and bumper stickers. After a fundraiser brought in about $2,000 in January, she used all of the money to pay for the billboard, which will stay up in Wyoma Square until April 28.
So far, it has been a big success in helping to get her story out.
“I can’t believe the outpour of just total strangers that are willing to give up an organ for somebody. That’s not like handing over five bucks to somebody and saying, ‘Here. Here’s some help.'”
LeBrasseur told WBZ-TV Tuesday, five people have reached out to her already with hopes to donate. Two have already started the long process of bloodwork and testing to see if they are a match.
“It’s extremely exciting. I’m trying not to get too excited about it. Just because they are the same blood type, doesn’t mean they are going to be a match…but I’m hopeful,” she says.
The push to find a kidney donor is a family affair for the LeBrasseurs. Miranda and her husband, Jeff, have two daughters, ages 11 and 14. LeBrasseur says the girls love the billboard, are always helpful, and are her “little cheerleaders.”
“My mother was 43 when she died. I’m 42. I have two small children. I don’t want to leave my kids. I want to live for them. I want to be here.”
LeBrasseur admits she may not have been as health-conscious as she should have been in her younger days, “but now I’m doing everything right and fighting to stay here.”
Along the way, she says she is using the process as a valuable lesson and is raising her daughters to emphasize healthy eating and exercise.
Jeff also sees this fight as a teaching moment. “I could worry about it and get upset and cry and roll up in a ball but that’s not the lesson that the kids need to learn. They really need to know to be strong,” he says.
If you or someone you know with Type O blood is interested, you can email Miranda at email@example.com or visit massgeneral.org/living-donor-kidney and enter Miranda LeBrasseur. She also has a website typeokidney.com with more information.
LeBrasseur says even if you do not match with her, you could match with someone else. “If you want to do it, and it’s something you’re serious about, go and do it. Because if it’s not going to help me, it will help someone else.”