On the corners of Barrington and Mississippi avenues in West Los Angeles, you can find a billboard of a man looking for a kidney. That man, Antonio Calderon, 31, suffers from a kidney disease known as FSGS, or Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis. So when his friend, Ilya Polyakov, wasn’t a match, he stepped up in the only way he could, buying a billboard to help find a matching donor.
Antonio Calderon has been on the kidney donor waiting list for about two years. He hopes this billboard will help find a match.
Calderon was diagnosed with the rare kidney disease back in 2009 and has been on dialysis for the last two years. This means every night he’s hooked up to a catheter machine to remove excess waste from his body.
The 31-year-old is now in desperate need for a kidney transplant. “I just got bum kidneys. It’s not a hereditary thing, it’s just bad luck,” he told CBS2.
Polyakov, with the help of about 30 others, stepped up and raised $5,000 through a GoFundMe to purchase the billboard in West LA. He hopes it will catch someone’s attention and help find a kidney match for his dear friend.
“I tried to be a donor for Antonio two years ago and unfortunately due to my own health I was not a compatible match,” Polyakov said. “I couldn’t really think of a more visible way than a 48 x 14-foot billboard that is there for the city to see.”
“You can’t (legally) buy a kidney, so we bought this billboard to save our friend’s life,” the billboard reads. “Find out if you are his donor match.”
The billboard has already caught the attention of people from around the world trying to help.
The billboard, in addition to posts across social media and the GoFundMe page, has resulted in about 200 inquiries. Calderon has been blown away from the quick responses from complete strangers willing to help.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Calderon told LA Magazine. “It’s surreal and then it’s just cool to know that there are that many people that seem to genuinely be good people and be caring. You know, none of them know me, but at the same time, they’re touched by the gesture that my friend has done.”
Calderon has been sharing some of the feedback and support he’s received since the billboard went up. He said on Twitter that a person from as far as Turkey contacted him about the billboard.
While the billboard has gotten a lot of attention, Calderon is still looking for a matching donor.
Calderon is blood type O+ and can get a kidney from those with blood types O+ and O-. He is still currently looking for a matching donor with those specific blood types.
Despite all the hardships Calderon has gone through the last few years, he’s grateful to have the support he’s received from his good friend and complete strangers.
“To know that there’s this many people that care about me to donate and then to actually see the billboard to get a bunch of eyes to give me a kidney is like so awesome,” Calderon told FOX11. “I’m personally prepared to live on dialysis for as long as it takes on the deceased donor list but this will get it much quicker and it’s incredible.”
Los Angeles is the epicenter of the film and television industries, but very few sitcoms are set in this multicultural metropolitan hub. Most sitcoms happen in New York, even if they are shot in sets built in California. Crazy, eh? Well, what if Friends actually took place in the City of Dreams?
1. “The one where Joey wins a taco eating competition at Carnitas Michoacan”
Credit: 030913-244750-Carnitas-Michoacan-Exterior+. Digital image. Serious Eats
Carnitas Michoacan is an angelano institution. Mexican food experts claim that they are the real deal. In this episode, Joey would be broke after his acting gig fell through, so he would enter and win a taco eating contest to be able to afford rent. Chandler would need to care for him after he gets indigestion.
2. “The one where Ross finds a fossil under the Hollywood sign”
Paleontologist Ross Geller would be trekking near the Hollywood sign and suddenly trip on something. On close inspection, he would realize it is a dinosaur bone! He would not be allowed to dig and that would throw him into a fit of frustration.
3. “The one where Phoebe marries a Chicano muralist”
Credit: Botello -1-thumb-600×401-61605_KCET Digital image. KCET
Strolling the streets of East Los, our favorite silly girl would meet a sexy muralist called Jorge, and marry him on the spot. She would later discover that once you marry a Latino you marry the whole family!
4. “The one where Rachel and Monica find a job at Canter’s”
Credit: Canters-Deli-Los-Angeles_0. Digital image. The infatuation
Rachel and Monica find out that working with your best friend isn’t that easy. Monica is a cook and Rachel is a waitress at this LA institution… Rachel keeps flirting with rock stars in the late night shift and Monica gets her fired.
5. “The one where Joey and Chandler get the Dog Whisperer for their pet duck”
Credit: Cesar-Millan-LA-Times_Digital image.The Yucatan Times
Desperate because their duck quacks all night, the dynamic duo finds Cesar Millan and begs for help. Hilarity follows.
6. “The one where Monica bumps into her ex Richard at Chateau Marmont”
Credit: chateau-marmont_TripAdvisor Digital image.TripAdvisor
Monica just can’t seem to keep a job in Los Angeles. As a cook in the infamous Chateau Marmont, she bumps into her ex Richard, who is a dentist to many celebrities! He is there to untangle two teenage stars whose brackets got stuck while they were making out. Classy.
7. “The one where Chandler moves to Echo Park and breaks Joey’s heart”
Credit: Echo_Park_Lake_with_Downtown_Los_Angeles_Digital image. Skyline Planning and GIS
BFFs Chandler and Joey can’t live together forever. Chandler finds a great investment opportunity in up and coming Echo Park and moves to the cool neighborhood. All is forbidden when Joey discovers a tamale cart across the street. Two verdes, please!
8. “The one where Ross jumps into the fountain at The Grove”
Credit: grove-hero+. Digital image. Caruso
The Grove is perhaps the prettiest mall in the US. Ross is seeing someone while he and Rachel are on “a break”. He is holding hands with this new girl and suddenly he spots Rachel at a distance. How to hide? Just jump into the fountain. He gets cheers and claps from everyone and Rachel obviously sees him!
9. “The one where Chandler proposes to Monica at LACMA”
Credit: image Time Out. Digital image.Time Out
Los Angeles has one of the coolest contemporary art museums in the world: LACMA. In this episode, Chandler takes Monica to this amazing installation, gets down on one knee and proposes. Eso, mi Chandler!
10. “The one where Phoebe discovers she ate an ostrich taco at El Coyote”
Credit: img_0402 . Digital image. Peace Love Lunges
One of the most traditional Tex-Mex spots in the city. In this episode, Phoebe discovers that the delicious taco she just ate was made with ostrich meat. She loves ostriches and feels super guilty, so she ends up adopting three big-ass birds!
11. “The one where Phoebe dates a Laker who also loves ostriches”
Credit: Kuzma-1049957_. Digital image. Daily Express.
After adopting the three ostriches, Phoebe joins an online community of ostrich lovers. She meets a famous basketball player and moves in with him, but moves out after not being able to stand the smell of 20 ostriches living in their house…. and sleeping in their bedroom!
12. “The one where Rachel and Ross make up while trapped in the Santa Monica Ferris wheel”
Credit: offthehooksmpier610x250. Digital image. CBS Los Angeles
Rachel and Ross enter the Santa Monica Ferris wheel as exes, but after a mechanical malfunction they get stuck up there for 5 hours and are an item again after finally being released at sunrise. Romantic as hell!
13. “The one where Chandler inherits Amoeba Music”
Credit: PPGTYHMYKFFHXIL6DV477QG4GQ. Digital image. Los Angeles Times.
Chandler’s mom dates the owner of this cultural institution. The owner dies and inherits the shop to Chandler’s mom, who in turn tells him it is HIS early inheritance. Chandler ends up revitalizing the business! Think High Fidelity on a bigger scale!
14. “The one where Joey dates a cello player”
Credit: walt-disney-concert-hall-night_. Digital image. Discover Los Angeles.
Joey is quite a Don Juan and somehow gets interesting, cultured women to date him. In this episode, he goes to the opening night of a concert season, but he falls asleep and falls down from the upper floor of the hall… The concert is interrupted and Joey gets dumped!
15. “The one where Phoebe adopts a mountain lion!”
Credit: hollywd-p22-national-geographic-cant-use. Digital image. CBS News
Just stop it, Phoebs! In this episode, Phoebe is jogging in a national park and finds a mountain lion who seems to be sick. She puts her into her car and drives it home. She names him “Mariachi”. Chaos follows.
16. “The one where little Ben reveals himself as a Lego genius”
Credit: legoland-california-with-transport-in-los-angeles-158951 . Digital image. Viator
Ross takes his son to Legoland and… surprise… Ben builds an amazing rocketship in record time. Everyone is impressed at his genius building skills and Ben gets an sponsorship from the company. He now makes more than his academic dad.
17. “The one where the gang goes to a karaoke bar in Koreatown”
Credit: 1426854317758. Digital image. Traveller
They all pretend to sing K-pop and get a crowd to cheer and laugh at these gringos pretending they know a second language!
18. “The one where Rachel’s dad moves to Malibu… and buys a house for Rachel next door”
Credit: VC_LivingTheDream_SupportingContent_Other_Malibu_Stock_RF_108795_1280x640_0. Digital image. Visit California.
Rachel has always tried to solve things by herself and move away from her “rich daddy’s girl” persona. In this episode, Rachel mush stand true to herself when her dad buys her a 3 bedroom beach house in Malibu just to keep her close.
19. “The one where Joey beats Danny Trejo at a chili eating contest”
Credit: 1156848_1280x720. Digital image. ABC7 News
Joey’s true abilities come to light in Los Angeles! In order to woo a hot Latina, Joey enters a chili eating competition with Danny Trejo. And he beats Machete!
20. “The one where Monica dates a muscle guy from Venice Beach”
Credit: muscle-beach-venice-bodybuilding-outdoor-gym-in-los-angeles-usa-3. Digital image. Venice Beach.
Monica meets a bodybuilder when he saves her from being run over by a bicycle. The gang feels intimidated at first but soon finds that the Hulk is a sweetheart with a love for extra sweet pastries… Monica bakes every single day to keep her guy’s calorie intake on check.
21. “The one where Joey becomes a Hollywood Boulevard impersonator”
Credit: hear+arrested+Spiderman+Sesame+Street+Kobe+PPXXoCtR1Zkl. Digital image. Zimbio
Life is tough in Los Angeles for a struggling actor. In order to make ends meet and not compromise his histrionic abilities, Joey dresses up as a different superhero each day and takes selfies with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. He gets good at doing it but all the other impersonators stage a coup against him and kick him out!
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