A simple, old-fashioned solution to a pressing problem

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March 28, 2012, 11:00 pm

(NECN: Josh Brogadir) - In this age of in-your-face round-the-clock advertising and social media, this is a simple old fashioned solution to a pressing problem.

It was little more than a passing glance on a road filled with distracting marquees and billboards and banners.

Driving in Fall River, Mass. following a dark green Toyota Camry a few months back, I strained to get a closer look.

It isn't easy to see what the sign says following from a distance. Homemade, cardboard, you have to get very close to the vehicle. But when you actually see it, it's impact is incredible.

It reads four simple lines:  

Kidney Donor Needed
Blood Type O+
Thank You.

What a way to try to get help.

"I said I'm going to put a sign on the car, it was my thought, you know," Mary Cordeiro said.

Now come the faces that go with that handwritten sign, the penmanship of a spirited 91-year-old named Mary Cordeiro in a last ditch effort for her only son Peter.

He needs a kidney - two actually - and, out of ideas, she took a Sharpie and made a sign.

"They sell cars, they sell this, they put them on the car. So I said I'm going to put about the kidney," Mary added.

"It would open up the door for a lot of opportunities," Peter said.

In more promising times, Peter was the valedictorian at Durfee High School, graduated from Tufts University and was in Optometry school.

But 14 years ago, he developed cysts on each of his kidneys.

Only 43-years-old and on disability, Peter Cordeiro goes to dialysis at the Artificial Kidney Center of Fall River three times a week, five hours a day.

His form of inherited polycystic kidney disease is not life threatening, but certainly life altering, first with little things, like not being able to eat foods with potassium.

We asked Peter how long has it has been since he's last had a banana:

"Years, I think. Years," he said.

But one of the biggest life altering facts of his disease is that he can't do big things, like not being able to work full time.

Most of their family is in Portugal, and as an only child with elderly parents, Peter has been on a donor transplant list for five years so far, and doesn't know when he will get a kidney.

People have seen the sign - there have been calls before - but nothing has panned out.

"There was a young guy, must have been no more than 20. And he said that I think I might be a match. So I gave him the number. But he never got back to me, so maybe he was mistaken about his blood type," Peter said.

Mary recently fell down their stairs and spent time at a rehab center.

Now more than ever, she wants the best - for her only son.

"My life is all gone anyway now," Mary said.

"But a new kidney for your son would change all that?" we asked.

"I think so," she said.

Tags: massachusetts, Fall River, Josh Brogadir, kidney donation, transplant, Mary Cordeiro, Peter Cordeiro
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