LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - A Hollywood man is showing the true meaning of friendship after he raised thousands of dollars to buy a billboard in West Los Angeles that attempts to help find a kidney donor for his best friend.
31-year-old Antonio Calderon suffers from a kidney disease known as FSGS, or Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.
“It’s a mouthful but it’s basically like my kidneys don’t work,” Calderon said. “It’s not hereditary, it’s just the luck of the draw, or the bad luck of the draw.”
As a result, Calderon has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine every night, and he’s been on the kidney donor waiting list for about two years.
His best friend, Ilya Polyakov, decided to do something about it.
“I myself have tried to be his donor, it wasn’t successful, and so I just got tired of seeing him suffering having to go home every night,” he said.
Polyakov raised $5,000 through GoFundMe to buy a billboard in West Los Angeles at the intersection of Barrington and Mississippi.
“You can’t (legally) buy a kidney, so we bought this billboard to save our friend’s life,” the billboard reads. “Find out if you are his donor match.”
“This is kind of a crazy idea right? Polyakov said. “The idea of putting up a billboard in the middle of a city and hope that complete strangers are gonna come through and give you their body part, but I believe it’s going to work. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think it would work.”
“To know that there’s this many people that care about me to donate and then to actually see the billboard to get a bunch of eyes to give me a kidney is like so awesome,” Calderon said. “I’m personally prepared to live on dialysis for as long as it takes on the deceased donor list but this will get it much quicker and it’s incredible.”