‘We need more donors:’ Milwaukee woman gets creative in quest for new kidney

Helen Totsky

Helen Totsky

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee woman needs to find a kidney donor -- and soon, and she's gotten creative in that quest, taking her plea for help to the streets.

Helen Totsky, who is on a transplant list at Aurora St. Luke's Hospital and at UW Health University Hospital, has been waiting for a kidney for almost two years and fears the kidney won't come in time.

"I would like to be able to have my life back, which means go to my meetings, my clubs, meet with my friends," said Totsky. "I could go to church like I want to. I'm praying to God constantly."

The 68-year-old said her nights are filled with tubes and a machine designed to clean her body. A room in her home is filled with medication she needs to survive.

Helen Totsky

Helen Totsky

"Exhausting, exhausting," said Totsky. "You have no freedom like a normal person."

She's used her creativity in an effort to find that freedom, passing out hundreds of cards and getting T-shirts made with her information on them.

"I got 500 of them and I've been passing them out," said Totsky. "The idea for the T-shirt came from a guy at Miller Park. He had it on the back -- 'I need a kidney, type O.' I thought, 'If he can do it, I can do it.'"

Helen Totsky

Totsky's determination hit the road with hope help would soon arrive.

"I decided if I put this sign on my car, that I might get more coverage," said Totsky. "If you wait for the powers that be, they kind of drag their feet on an old bag like me, so it's like, I have to do this myself."

Helen Totsky

This, as she raises awareness along the way.

"We need more donors," said Totsky. "I mean, seriously. I'm not the only one in this predicament."

Totsky said her kidneys failed due to an autoimmune disease and said another dream is getting a job to help pay off her medical bills.

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