Orlando family posts signs on cars to help find kidney for son

‘Our son is in desperate need of a kidney transplant,’ sign reads

ORLANDO, Fla. – You'd know if you were stuck behind Cynthia and Richard Pannullo's cars.

For the past three months, they’ve used their daily commute as a chance to rise awareness for their son, with magnets and signs on their cars which read:

“Our son is in desperate need of a kidney transplant...If you are interest in giving the gift of life by donating a kidney please call us at 407-280-3564.”

Their son, 22-year-old Rene Lopez, is currently on dialysis at Arnold Palmer Hospital dealing with renal failure.

"He was born with two bad kidneys, he had a transplant before, and that kidney is going bad," Richard Pannullo, Rene's father, said. "Now we just need another kidney to replace that."

“He is listed on a transplant list,” Cynthia Pannullo said. “Unfortunately, those aren’t matching because most people aren’t aware what blood type they are.”

Lopez's mother said she's been surprised by the calls they've already gotten since they started this project. She said several people are currently being tested as a possible match, and others have tried in the past.

"We've had calls where I'm at a stop light and someone right next to us says, 'I'm right next to you, what can I do,'" she said. "We've gotten phone calls outside Florida. People that have been visiting, people in St. Pete have called. They're all willing to get tested, and that's what we're looking for."

That's not to say the family hasn't dealt with some unusual responses.

"We've gotten some good calls, we've gotten some strange calls," Richard Pannullo said. "Any call is a good call to us."

As for Lopez, he told News 6 he's hopeful for the future.

"It's hard at times when you wake up and go to dialysis and sit there for six hours," Rene Lopez said. "Just hooked up to a machine, it gets to you some times. At the same time, I just try to keep my head up. Things are going to get better, I'm going to get a kidney."

If you’re interested in donating a kidney to help Rene Lopez, you’re asked to call 407-280-3564.

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