Monroe man hopes signs lead him to kidney donor

Monroe resident Tim Gentile with one of the signs advertising his search for a kidney donor. EMMA STIEFEL/STAFF

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Monroe resident Tim Gentile with one of the signs advertising his search for a kidney donor. EMMA STIEFEL/STAFF

Local drivers may have noticed bright red and blue signs lining some roads, advertising not homes for sale or lawn care services but Monroe resident Tim Gentile’s search for a kidney donor.

In addition to his signs, which have been placed in Butler County, Warren County, and Hyde Park, Gentile has also hung magnets on his car and started a Facebook page.

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Gentile has AA amyloidosis, a condition that causes abnormal proteins to build-up and block organ function, which developed from the rheumatoid arthritis he’s suffered from since he was six years old. He was diagnosed with amyloidosis in 2013, and in March 2016 one of Gentile’s family members was prepared to donate her kidney to him, but her own health problems prevented her from going through with the procedure.

Though his kidneys were “steady for a long time,” Gentile said that this year there were “very drastic drops” in their function and expects to be on dialysis in a couple months. Gentile is also on the waiting list for receiving kidneys from deceased donors. Normally, he said, recipients are on the list for three to seven years before they get a transplant, so many search for live donors instead.

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So far, about 20 people have called Gentile to inquire about donating a kidney. All he can do, however, is tell them more about himself and his medical condition and direct them to the hospital for screening. The hospital can only tell him if they’re testing someone as a potential donor, so he has no way of knowing how many people have actually gotten screened.

One of those potential donors was Loveland resident John Muenzer, who noticed Gentile’s signs while driving to visit his son’s grave.

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“I’ve been in business for 37 years, I have my own company, but have I really done something for somebody other than raising my kids and trying to be a good community member?” he said.

Muenzer said he felt like his deceased son was trying to communicate with him, and after reflecting in the cemetery, decided to call Gentile about donating.

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“(These days) everyone in the country is hit with so much negativity every damn day, and we only worry about ourselves,” Muenzer said. “When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s in a small town in Ohio, it wasn’t like that; there was a sense of community. We need to take a step back and try to help people.”

Muenzer’s past history of kidney stones, however, disqualified him from being a donor.

Gentile said he remains “absolutely hopeful” that he will find a donor.

“I know there’s somebody out there,” Gentile said. “I have to find the right person, but I have all the faith and hope that I will find someone.”

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