From the front, it looked like any other dark blue T-shirt worn by a 40-something father walking around the most magical place on earth with his daughter. But from the back, it was a one-of-a-kind creation Jimmy Farhat was hoping would make other Magic Kingdom park-goers take notice — and perhaps take action.
IN NEED OF KIDNEY
FILE NAME: JAMIL FARHAT
The shirt was a last-ditch plea by a man desperate to stay in this world. Polycystic kidney disease had reduced Jimmy's kidney function to 15 percent in the years since his diagnosis. "I’m out there asking for somebody to give the gift of life," he told Florida’s Action Jax News of the walking billboard he turned himself into while visiting Disney World with his family. "Life ain’t good," he added. "Three days a week, four hours a day on dialysis."
As Florida’s First Coast News reports, that’s been Jimmy’s life since being added to the kidney transplant list at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus three years ago. "He can't keep his eyes open but somehow he keeps going," Jimmy’s wife, Lena, tells First Coast News of his grueling but necessary dialysis treatments.
Jimmy says he only has to look as far as his young daughter, Alexa, for the motivation he needs to continue on while he waits for a donor kidney to be found. "She's got a Miss America pageant in 20 years I need to be there for," he tells First Coast News.
All of the work Jimmy and family put into finding a living donor recently paid off when an "anonymous woman in Jacksonville" called Mayo Clinic, went through the required testing and evaluations, and was deemed to be a "perfect match" for Jimmy. First Coast News reports that three long years of waiting, and fighting, will come to an end June 11, when a transplant team at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus removes one of the donor's healthy kidneys and transplants it into Jimmy.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh … for like 30 minutes! Then you start crying … just so many different things,’" Lena Farhat tells First Coast News of the family’s reaction to learning a donor had been found.
Jimmy could not be more grateful. "There are too many people to thank!" he wrote on Facebook last month. "Everyone who helped get the word out! Everyone who even thought about donating and the ones who went thru with the testing. I can’t wait!" You can read more of Jimmy’s story here and here. Then don’t make us wait to see your comments below before using the social media links atop this page to share this story with others.