SAN ANTONIO - Philip Moreno knew he'd eventually need to find a new kidney donor after undergoing a transplant in 2001 when he contracted Hepatitis C while stationed in Turkey.
"They told me the kidney would only last five years," said Moreno.
That kidney lasted 10 years.
Last December, suffering from Prograf toxicity, he went on dialysis, to which he goes three times a week for three and-a-half hour sessions. His doctor put him on the donor waiting list, where he was told he'd stay for three to five years.
Faced with a long wait, his girlfriend, Patricia Doria, thought about ways to help him and a suggestion came from her 88-year-old mother, who told her about a news story she saw where someone used Facebook to find a donor match.
"I said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' I'm not a Facebook fan, I'm just not," said Moreno, when told of Doria's plan. "I'm pretty private when it comes down to information or releasing information."
"One night, I was at his apartment trying to figure out how to do it and I figured it out," added Doria. "I know a lot of people look at (Facebook) as a negative tool, but it's a very positive tool if used correctly."
The page "Kidney Donors Save Lives" went up Sept. 12 with Doria providing criteria for the donor, along with pictures of Moreno spending time with his grandchildren and at events at VFW Post 76, where he serves as senior vice commander.
"I just said, 'Well, if it happens, it happens.' I don't think it's going to happen," admitted Moreno. "I don't think someone's going to read Facebook and say, 'Yeah, I'm here, I'm going to donate a kidney!'"
Doria said that first day, she received a message from a possible donor.
After the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, discovered she was a match through testing, she sent Doria the good news last week.
"I went to check it and my hands were shaking and I was too emotional," she said. "All of a sudden, I just started screaming and yelling and I said, 'Babe! Babe! We've got a match!' I mean, through the grace of God, we got a match!"
"It's unbelievable. It's a miracle," added Moreno, who admitted he still has not joined Facebook.
They're still waiting for a surgery date but expect it to happen during the Thanksgiving holiday at the request of the donor. Both Doria and Moreno want to keep the page going to help others waiting for donors.
"If it's going to save Philip's life, it could save somebody else's life," said a teary Doria. "That's what I want to do."
"There are so many avenues there that can be taken, too, to ask for a kidney," added Moreno. "Whatever your story is, it should be told."
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