• Breanna Johns

Father's life saved by T-shirt worn to Disney World


There were five reasons 60-year-old Robert Leibowitz was in desperate need for a transplant: his five kids.

On their family vacation during the summer at Disney World, the single father of five wore a T-shirt with his blood type and his cell number.

"I thought, you know, if I can get one person who's my blood type to just respond and maybe that's my match, you know, it's worth the 35 dollar investment for the shirt," Leibowitz said. "This amazing couple Rossio and Juan Sandoval took a picture of it and said, 'do you mind if I post it?'... Within the first week 90,000 Facebook shares."

Leibowitz got a phone call one day from Richie Sully, who is a 39-year-old father of two from Indiana and who was a complete stranger to Leibowitz.

"My biggest worry is – is my daughter losing me or not getting to spend time with them. So, you know, it was kind of a no-brainer," Sully said. "A few trips to New York, a lot of blood work. Every month or so we do another round of labs."

After months filled with tests and anxiety, Leibowitz received word that Richie’s kidney was a match.

"I broke down and I screamed but of course screaming in New York, nobody – everybody ignores you anyway," Leibowitz said of getting that phone call. "Words cannot explain. This guy's saving my life. He's saving my life. He's giving me more time with my kids."

Sully and Leibowitz are now both doing well. The two are resting comfortably at the hospital, and they will both stay in the city for the next few weeks as doctors monitor their progress.

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