Marc Weiner knows how to draw media attention and get results. The former news executive and cancer survivor is using a Times Square billboard to attract a kidney donor.
Weiner was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2015, and surgeons removed the organ along with both of his kidneys.
He is now cancer-free, and undergoes dialysis three times every week, which takes a toll on his body.
But he is staying optimistic and says he feels fortunate.
“I have the best family on the planet,” Weiner tells CNN. “I just need a kidney.”
“My name is Marc, I need a Kidney, YOU can Help!” reads the billboard that shows his smiling face beaming high above New York.
Rick Del Mastro is CEO of the national billboard company that controls this specific spot on Broadway.
He says he’s glad to help provide a platform for Weiner’s message, but “what we really want now is that home run, that he finds that donor.”
His daughter, Dawn Del Mastro-Chruma, is president of the same billboard company, and has known Marc’s wife, Lisa Weiner, for decades.
She wanted to help her friend, but also spread awareness about the need for donors in general.
“This is outreach for all those people in need of a kidney. It brings awareness of that population,” Del Mastro-Chruma says. “He’s not alone.”
The attention is paying off, Marc Weiner says. The billboard went up less than a week ago, and they’ve already had eight potential donors sign up to be tested.
“I’m ecstatic this has generated buzz,” he says. “I’m getting a longer lease on life. I’m blessed, I am so grateful – I use that word every day and it will probably be in my vocabulary for the rest of my life”
The billboard will be up until Weiner finds a donor, the owners say, or until the end of November when the billboard needs to come down because of prior construction plans.
You can learn more about becoming a donor here.