A local woman who desperately needs a new kidney is looking for any way she can, including billboards, to find a donor.
You can see there are a few of them around the city, the digital-type signs that circulate ads, plus a stationary one.
Devon Carver hopes someone can help her with a new kidney before it's too late.
The provocative billboards show Carver with her 12-year-old son David in a photo, taken right before Christmas.
It reads, "Local mother needs living kidney donor."
Doctors said her chances of it not being rejected are better than getting a kidney from a cadaver donor.
"The wait for the cadaver is 6 to 7 years long, and the cadaver doesn't always take as well as a live donor does," said Devon Carver.
She hopes she's around to celebrate many more holidays with David and her husband Brandon.
"It's tough. It's not easy," said her husband Brandon Carver. "I don't wish it on anyone."
"I had a kidney and pancreas transplant done on Sept. 23rd, 2010," she said.
Her pancreas is OK, which ended 32 years of diabetes and taking insulin.
"It was a big change, huge change," said Devon.
But her body rejected that kidney, and she's been sick ever since.
"If you would have asked me yesterday, I would have told you I was dying yesterday," she said. "Because I was in so much pain."
Devon wonders how long she can hold on. She sleeps hooked-up to a dialysis machine and has to be on it 12 hours a day to stay alive.
"I feel like a railroad track. I've been cut open so many times, and we've had so many issues between the transplants," she lamented.
Plus, complications left over after years of battling diabetes.
"I found out I had gangrene and they had to remove my toes on the week before Christmas," she said. "I still come to tears when I look at my feet, and notice there are no toes there. I'm 34 years old, and that's not the way your life is supposed to be."
"On this foot, I lost my big toe and my second toe and now something has appeared on the third toe," she showed-us, pointing to her left foot. "And on this one you can see, but I've lost the middle toe right here."
A neighbor, Michael Grouse, who owns a media company, volunteered the billboards hoping to help her find a match. Devon is o-negative, so O+ or O- are the magic letters she needs in a donor. There is an extensive screening and vetting process. A second cousin even volunteered from North Carolina.
"Her antigens and antibodies were attacking mine," she said. "So there's no way that she could ever be a transplant match for me, and she's family."
"Basically, after you're medically accepted, it's let's make a date, but it's getting to that point, that's the difficult part," said Brandon.
Devon and Brandon said the support they've gotten from the Fishhawk Community has been incredible. And they've heard from LifeLink, the folks here in Tampa handling the transplant, that someone has come forward and volunteered to donate a kidney.
But until they get the OK that it's a true match, they need to keep searching for that O- or O+ candidate.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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