Markham man takes live kidney donor search to streets


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A Markham man has taken to the streets wearing a sandwich board looking for a living kidney donor for his ailing wife.

Lucy Latino, 65, was diagnosed with kidney disease 15 years ago and two years ago was told she needed a transplant and is on the waiting list.

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Out of desperation, her husband Charlie Latino, took to the streets wearing a sandwich board saying “Need “O” kidney for wife” along with his phone number.

For a transplant the donor would need to be type-O blood that is positive or negative and no one in Lucy’s family is a match.

Lucy Latino.
Lucy Latino. Photo by SUPPLIED /TORONTO SUN

Organ donations must match the same blood time and those waiting for an organ from a deceased individual can be on the wait list for years.

Charlie started his mission in early August and frequents Yonge-Dundas Square and the Rogers Centre when there are events and Niagara Falls.

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“I go anywhere I can get attention. On the street people high-five me and don’t know how I can do it,” Charlie said. “Even if people aren’t a match for us, maybe we will help someone else.”

On occasion, people offer Charlie money and he asks them to make a donation the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Lucy says she doesn’t have much of a quality of life going to dialysis three times a week for four hours.

“I’m in complete failure and need a kidney sooner rather than later,” Lucy said.

And as for her husband taking to the streets?

“I’m truly loved by my family. I’m wowed and truly lucky,” she said.

The couple’s daughter, Dannielle Rodrigues, says she is the leader of the pack and even had her eight-year-old daughter make the signs for her father.

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“My dad is a good sport about it, but we are willing to try anything,” said Rodrigues, who created #lucyneedsakidney and managed to get billboard time at Yonge/Dundas for the cause.

Rodrigues says even if she isn’t successful getting a kidney for her mom she hopes her efforts will help educate people to donate.

“I hope this starts dinner table conversation about donation,” Rodrigues said.

The Latinois can be reached at 647-227-5554 or [email protected]

People can no longer register by signing their driver’s licence.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

To become a donor after death, people must have registered online at

People interested in being a living donor can go to [email protected]

Trillium Gift of Life says the average wait time for a kidney donation in Ontario is five years or more.

The Canadian Institute for Health information says there were 2,782 organ transplant in Canada in 2021.

Seventy-eight 78% of transplants used deceased donor organs and 21% used living donor organs.

As of December 31, 2021, 4,043 Canadians were on wait-lists to receive a transplant.

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