New Jersey

Viral Photo Snapped at Disney World Lands New Jersey Father a New Kidney

When Robert Leibowitz took his five children to Disney World, he never imagined just how magical his vacation would be. 

The New Jersey dad suffers from chronic kidney disease. Desperate for a donor, he made a t-shirt saying, "In need of kidney, O-positive," along with his phone number, and wore it during vacation in August. 

"I figured, I'm in my favorite place on the planet, maybe there will be a little pixie dust," he said. "If I reach one person, a live donor, that's one more than I would have met." 

A stranger took notice, snapped a photo and posted it on social media. More than 300 calls and texts flooded Leibowitz's phone, and four people were tested. 

Then finally, the news he had been hoping for: Richie Sully, a man from Indiana who he had never met, was a match. 

"I never really thought about it. I just saw that this guy needed help, and I obviously have an extra kidney," said Sully. 

The two recently met up in New York City. Leibowitz calls him his real-life superhero.

"There are no words, no matter how much I say how much I appreciate," he said. 

Leibowiz said if it wasn't for Sully, he would still be on a donor waiting list, going to dialysis three days a week. He's now hoping his story inspires others to become live donors.

"People need to realize that you can live with one kidney," he said. "You can donate a kidney, you can live to be 100 years old -- and you can be a hero." 

Leibowitz says once he's recovered from surgery, he plans to take the two strangers who helped save his life back to Disney to celebrate his fairy-tale ending.

The National Kidney Foundation, which is running an awareness campaign about living kidney donations called The Big Ask, The Big Give, has curated other stories of kidney donors and kidney transplant recipients at 

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