The man who advertised a kidney donor search in Times Square had a successful transplant
More than two years after his face appeared on a giant billboard in Times Square next to a kidney donation ad, Long Island resident and CBS News employee Mark Weiner is recovering from a successful transplant surgery.
Weiner, who lives in Great Neck and works at CBS News as a producer, spoke CBS New York Sunday morning about his medical journey and somewhat unconventional path to securing an organ transplant — his first since being released from New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center following surgery.
“Excuse the shaggy beard and matted hair, but I feel great,” Weiner said Sunday morning during his post-surgery interview, which he gave from home with his wife, Lisa. Weiner noted that less than a week after the transplant surgery, which took place Tuesday, she already felt “less tired” with “more stamina.”
In December 2020, Weiner appeared on a giant Times Square billboard for the second time seeking potential kidney donors. “My name is Mark,” read the ad under a photo of his face. “I need a kidney! You can help.”
The ad encouraged passers-by to learn more about the opportunity to a website whose URL link told viewers, aptly, “Help Mark find a kidney.” But Weiner wasn’t exclusively looking for a kidney donor to match her, and she won’t find one for some time yet. Still, the New Yorker hoped his billboard would inspire someone to become a living kidney donor for a person in need, if they couldn’t donate directly to him.
A donation on Weiner’s behalf would essentially fast-track her own transplant surgery through the National Kidney Registry’s voucher program, which would then prioritize her place in line and speed up the wait time for her to find a donor.
“Literally, the second they donate their kidney, sometime later that day, Mark’s voucher is activated and the computer is working, looking for one of those three, 4,000 people in that database who are going to be matched with Mark, and that could start a chain. ,” Michael Lolo, a former NYPD detective who was inspired to donate his kidney to a Pennsylvania woman after seeing Weiner’s Times Square ad, told CBS New York. Now retired, Lollo is an advocate for the National Kidney Donation Organization
Weiner He lost two kidneys While battling a cancer diagnosis she initially received in 2015. By 2020, he was cancer-free, though still undergoing dialysis treatment three days a week.
“It’s not easy doing dialysis, and juggling a full-time job and a family. I want to get well, and the way to do that is to find a kidney donor,” Weiner told CBS New York at the time.
In addition to Lollo, a second donation made by someone who saw his billboard ad boosted Weiner’s position on the National Kidney Registry and eventually led him to his match, a 20-year-old who donated anonymously. For more information on how to become a living kidney donor, visit kidneyregistry.org.