Along with the lavish costumes, marching and music, the creative signs are one of the staples of the annual Mummers Parade in Philly. One of the most memorable signs from Monday’s event came from Joe Weissinger, a member of the Riverfront Mummers N.Y.B. It read, “My Dad Needs A Kidney, #Kidney4Joe.” Weissinger’s 4-year-old son Joey held it up high.
“My son held that sign loud and proud,” Weissinger said. “We told him, 'You’re going to help daddy with that sign.'”
The message sparked a strong reaction from people who saw it.
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“People in the crowd were high-fiving me and saying, ‘Good luck Joe,’” Weissinger said.
Weissinger, 42, was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome in 2010. It’s a rare kidney disease that can cause heart disease and high blood pressure. After undergoing treatment for several years, Weissinger’s kidneys stopped functioning properly and he was hospitalized with pneumonia in 2014, according to the Philly Voice. That same year, Weissinger stopped working due to the physical demand. He currently undergoes at-home dialysis five days a week.
“I have a four-year-old son and one day he said to me, ‘Dad, when are you off dialysis?’” Weissinger said.
Weissinger is hoping to find a live donor.
“I’m type O-positive,” he said. “So I can give to almost anybody but I can’t receive anybody.”
Weissinger said he used to be afraid to ask for help but decided to make a public plea because he wants to be around for his son Joey and his newborn daughter Aubrie.
“My kids are everything to me,” he said. “And my family is everything to me.”
Click here if you'd like to help Weissinger or anyone looking for a kidney donation. You can also visit the Jefferson University Hospital Transplant Institute website.