CALGARY — A Calgary teacher who needs a new kidney hopes the old adage "It Pays to Advertise" will help him find an organ donor for an operation that could save his life.
Ryan Mclennan and his wife Shakina have purchased ad space on billboards across the busiest part of the province.
The ads feature a picture of the smiling couple, his blood type, their phone number and the message that he needs a living donor for a second kidney.
It's one of the toughest things I've ever had to ask.Ryan Mclennan
The 42-year-old shop teacher says his kidney has deteriorated to nearly six per cent of normal function.
Mclennan says the billboards are his wife's idea.
Friends are also driving vehicles around with window decals that carry the same message and the couple have a "Find A Kidney For Ryan Mclennan" Facebook page.
"It's one of the toughest things I've ever had to ask," Mclennan said Tuesday. "I didn't want anyone to know I was sick. I didn't want to be known as the sick guy."
Mother donated one of her kidneys
In 2002, at the age of 28, Mclennan noticed he was often tired but attributed his fatigue to the fact he was working night shifts and long hours.
A mandatory physical exam for all employees noted high-blood pressure and subsequent medical tests determined his kidneys were failing.
Mclennan's mother donated one of her kidneys to him in 2002.
"I didn't realize that what I was getting was so hard to get and hard to find."
Mclennan said his current search for another kidney started nearly two years ago.
He said if he can't find a suitable donor he hopes the billboards will at least raise awareness and maybe help someone else in need of a transplant.
"That would be incredible. I know what it's like to go through this whole process."
Mclennan's blood type is O, though since he's in the donor program, that doesn't affect who can give him a kidney, notes a recent Facebook post on his friends' page.
Mclennan currently has billboards in place in Edmonton, Calgary and along the busy QEII Highway. For more information, visit the Facebook page, or call (403) 971-6572.
With files from HuffPost Canada