Things That Matter

People From Around The World Are Responding To A Billboard Asking For A Kidney To Help Save A Young Man’s Life

GoFundMe / Ilya Polyakov

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.”

READ: 21 Health Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow Right Now

Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

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Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

Entertainment anchor Amanda Salas, of “Good Day L.A,” was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma –– cancer that occurs when cells begin to grow out of control and it starts in the white blood –– but she’s not letting the diagnosis stop her from living life. Since being diagnosed, Salas has started chemotherapy and her hair has begun to fall out so she decided to throw a “buzz party” where she shaved her hair off. 

In a video on Instagram, she posted on highlights from her “Buzz Party,” Salas says that her hair started to fall out after only the first round of chemotherapy. “I felt like everything was just happening so fast,” she adds. “To be able to share this experience with people I love gave me strength and confidence.” 

On July 5, Salas posted a photo on Instagram where she’s seen coming out of a scan and announcing to her followers that she had been diagnosed with NHL. 

“I recently completed my first round of chemotherapy,” Salas writes. “To say the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I have been trying to wrap my head and heart around all this.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, NHL is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., accounting for about 4% of all cancers. 

The latest statistics for 2019 show that about 74,200 people –– 41,090 males and 33,110 females –– will be diagnosed with NFL. This includes both adults and children. According to the American Cancer Society, about 19,970 people will die from this cancer –– 11,510 males and 8,460 females. 

Overall, the chance that a man develops NFL in his lifetime is about 1 in 42; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 54. 

“While I was in the hospital laying in bed, one form of inspiration for me was going on social media and searching hashtags from others experiencing the same ‘thing’ I was. They were brace. They were beautiful. They believed. I hope to one day be that small dose of comfort for somebody else…the same way they gave me hope. Now, the FIGHT begins,” she adds.

The American Cancer Society also cites that, “Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21% of deaths. While Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with the most common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate), they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as liver, stomach, and cervix.”

Instead of feeling weak and defeated, it’s admirable that Salas is ready to fight her NHS and that she also hopes she can inspire others who may be on the same journey as her. 

Salas also says she’s ready to approach her NHS with the same work ethic she’s had in her career. “I never truly knew how strong I was until RIGHT NOW. I’m happily accepting all positive vibes and prayers, as I build my army to help me through this battle,” Salas writes. 

Fellow Fox LA colleague and friend of Salas, Leah Uko, shared an Instagram post with some beautiful words about her friend.

In a #MondayMotivation inspired caption, she writes that Salas is an inspiration not only for “being strong for herself, her loved ones and for others who have been diagnosed with #NonHodgkinsLymphoma, but also for displaying the same exact work ethic in her journey to recovery as she does as an amazing entertainment reporter.” 

She went on to say that Salas has never been a woman to “fold” and that hasn’t let her current circumstances define her negatively.

“You stand even when you may feel weak or when you may see doubt,” Uko writes. “On Saturday at Amanda’s Buzz Party where she had her hair buzzed off ahead of her surgery and second session of chemotherapy, I saw that same strong, professional work ethic she always possesses and displays.” 

Another friend of Salas tweeted her some words of encouragement, “My friend @AmandaSalas is fighting cancer and cancer picked the wrong Latina to mess with. Bless you, my dear!! You just can’t get rid of her amazing smile!!!” 

And another Twitter user replied to her and said, “You don’t know me and we have never met. But we have one thing in common. your type of cancer. My mom was diagnosed decades ago, shes still alive and strong. IF she can do it so can you. BE STRONG and live long. Know that you are not alone!” 

It’s amazing to see the kind of unwavering support that Salas is receiving from colleagues and friends in her life. It’s especially needed during this difficult time. 

“Cancer sucks,” Salas says. “But [my Buzz Party] didn’t have to.” 

Kamala Harris Proposes Ambitious $100 Billion Grant Program To Close Racial Gap In Homeownership

Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Proposes Ambitious $100 Billion Grant Program To Close Racial Gap In Homeownership

kamalaharris / Instagram

Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a California Senator, has recently proposed a $100 billion federal grant solution to help address the racial wealth gap for Black Americans. The crux of the solution is centered in homeownership. She wants to help pay for down payments and closing costs for families of color that are still affected by redline segregation-era practices. She announced her plan Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, which aims to lift up Black women.

“That not only lifts up black America, that lifts up all of America,” she told the crowd.

The plan would help at least 4 million families that are living in those areas that were redlined. Redlining is the term used to describe Jim Crow laws that limited black families’ abilities to take out loans to buy homes. Redlining effectively set boundaries on where those families could live, and, generations later, those families continue to suffer.

The plan also includes a crucial policy change that would raise credit scores for many minority families.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Her plan is to change federal policy that would count rent payments and utility bill payments toward credit scores, effectively raising credit scores for POC. The plan would give families of color assistance with buying homes in neighborhoods they had been racially biased from living it by offering grants up to $25,000.

The plan would increase the average wealth of Latino households by $29,000.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

It would also increase the average wealth of Black households by about $32,000, according to The New York Times. By aiding with down payments and closing costs, it allows families to buy homes that they could pay off with their existing monthly income, rather than requiring tens of thousands of dollars in savings before ownership.

Of course, Fox News is already screaming their heads off about reverse racism.

Credit: @Bakari_Sellers / Twitter

Unlike offering home loans that families can’t afford, which caused the 2008 housing crisis, this plan seeks to make true reparations for Black families that were prevented from owning homes due to Jim Crow laws.

Thankfully, folks are clapping back at the #whitesplaining.

Credit: @L82twatmytweet / Twitter

Instead of discussing the issue at hand–reparations for redlining–Tucker Carlson and his gang talked about how it would be racist to white people by not including them in the conversation. If white folks were included in the conversation, it would be as perpetrators of racist systemic oppression, but Kamala Harris is focusing on justice for black folks, not punishing white folks.

Some people are generally concerned over “race-baiting” policies.

Credit: @raynen15 / Twitter

We see you Pan Dulce. There are over 40 million Black folks in the United States, and several responded to Harris’ tweet with concern that this only helps 10 percent of the population. Of course, the 4 million that would be helped are a diverse group of POC that are descendants of those that were racially segregated. That’s several generations of POC paying rent to a landlord instead of owning a home they could pass onto the next generation, to give them a leg up in the world. When reparations aren’t made, families remain static, instead of progressing.

Just one example of a certified Doctorate in Reverse Racism.

Credit: @EddieDonovan / Twitter

We don’t know what your Ph.D. is in, Mr. Eddie Donovan, but it certainly isn’t in systemic injustice or empathy. Hope you had fun leaving that little winky face at the end of a tone-deaf comment, though. Harris’s plan aims to undo generations of unfair and racist practices that hurt Black and brown communities. The same plans being proposed were once used exclusively for white communities so it is just a way to even the playing field.

Harris is tackling systemic injustice alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in other ways, too.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Just this week, the duo introduced a bill that would reduce recidivism through housing after incarcerated individuals leave the system. America has the highest percentage of our population behind bars than any other country in the world. Many of the laws that place folks in jail started out as Jim Crow laws and have simply evolved to become more insidiously racist.

Regardless of those offended by the proposal, people are coming out in droves to support the effort.

Credit: @ArtMarius2 / Twitter

Keep it going, Harris. #BlackWomenMagic

A Univision poll showed that Kamala Harris support by Latinos more than doubled from 6 percent to 22 percent after the debates.

@KamalaHarris / Twitter

The poll only included 411 Latino voters and showed Kamala Harris in the lead with 22 percent. Castro was behind her with 18 percent, and Biden and Sanders were tied at 16 percent.

READ: Don. Jr. Said Kamala Harris Wasn’t Black Enough And Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Not Having It

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