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Oregon Nurse's 'Kidney Needed' Billboards Draw 5 Dozen Donors

Here's a story that ought to warm your heart . . . .

It seems that 65-year-old Roxanne Loomis, an emergency room nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in the beautiful Oregon city of Eugene, was slowly dying. She was four years into the sad, lonely, exhausting protocols of weekly dialysis treatments, because her kidneys were slowly failing. Nurse Loomis' name was already on the local kidney donor wait-list, but the normal wait time in Oregon was 7 years. Nobody in her family - and none of her friends - were a compatibility match. Her future did not look promising, and she was losing energy by the day.

"Dialysis was draining my life away," she told news reporters.

But then one day Doctor William Gutheim, a kidney specialist, brought up a novel idea. Why not take out a billboard? Wow, what a concept, she thought. Could such a thing possibly work?

So Roxanne Loomis teamed up with her brother and bought a freeway billboard, announcing, "We Need a Kidney Donor for a Eugene RN" along with a telephone number. It wasn't cheap - it cost $1100. But then came a curious surprise. Another billboard advertiser - Lamar - contacted them to ask if they could run her 'kidney needed' ad on five more billboards in the much larger cities of Salem and Portland. They offered to do it free of charge.

The results were stunning because the queries came pouring in. Nurse Loomis got 60 calls in less than a month, and referred them all to her insurer, Legacy Health in Portland. One call in particular came in from another nurse who lived in Portland. That call would set off a chain reaction of donations. which ended with her successful match and surgery in February - one year after they put up their very first billboard.

Today Roxanne Loomis has returned to work as a nursing instructor, grateful for the almost cosmic turn of events, And her words of appreciation read like yet another prescient billboard:

"You don't know how sick you are until you are no longer sick," she says.

Three cheers for one super nurse.

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