Family of Knoxville man turns to social media to find kidney donor

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Roy Webb needs a new kidney and his family has turned to social media in hopes of finding a matching donor.

Webb, 66, was diagnosed with kidney failure three years ago, a genetic condition. Since then, he has been on dialysis while he awaits a donor. 

“After he was diagnosed, he went through the process to get on the transplant list,” said Webb’s daughter, Nicole Phillips. “He wasn’t getting much from being on the list, so our family began sharing his story on social media in hopes of finding a donor.”

Webb was born in Galveston, Texas, but moved to Knoxville in the 1980s. He worked for BellSouth and AT&T for 30 years as service technician before his diagnosis forced him to take a medical retirement.

He has six grandchildren with a seventh on the way.

Since he began dialysis, Webb, who lives in Knoxville, has had to stop doing many of the things he loves, including camping, spending time outdoors and being out on the water.

Although he was baptized as a young boy, he wants to be baptized again, but isn’t able to do so because he is on dialysis. 

“It’s been really hard on him,” Phillips said. “He can’t fly, so he and his wife have to drive everywhere. And it seems like he’s always at the doctor’s office.”

Phillips tried to donate one of her own kidneys to her father. She was a match, but because the kidney condition her father has is genetic, doctors found Phillips’ kidneys were only functioning at 72 percent. 

“This condition shortens his life tremendously,” Phillips said. “He can’t stay on dialysis forever.”

Phillips said her family was inspired to tell Webb’s story on social media after a friend saw a similar post from someone seeking a kidney in California.

She said if they can see a post like that from all the way across the country, maybe someone in another state will see her father’s post and be a match.

If you are interested in seeing if you are a donor match for Webb, call UT Medical Center’s transplant center at 865-305-5340 and ask to speak to Linda Walker. Webb needs a match with blood type A or O.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are 101,000 Americans awaiting a kidney transplant, but only about 17,000 people receive on each year.

Every day, 12 people die waiting for a kidney. 

In order to donate a kidney, you have to pass a series of medical tests, including a full medical history, a physical exam, chest x-ray, radiological testing, urine testing and a cancer screening.

A blood sample will also be taken to check for compatibility.

For more information, visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website.

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