Photo of a man’s t-shirt at theme park gives family a renewed sense of hope

September 1, 2017 9:21 am Last Updated: September 1, 2017 9:21 am


Whenever you go to Walt Disney World, you are bound to have a magical day. Whether you experience the thrill of exploring one of the parks with someone who has never been or you finally get to ride the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train, your day is guaranteed to be a special one.

Just ask Robert Leibowitz, and he’ll tell you how one day at Magic Kingdom has the potential to become the most magical day of your life.

Leibowitz recently visited Magic Kingdom with his five children.

(Facebook/Robert Leibowitz)

While Leibowitz was pushing one of his children around the park in a wheelchair, when a woman cautiously approached him and asked if she could take a photo of his shirt.

Normally it wouldn’t be such an odd request because some people sport their best Mickey and Minnie gear to the happiest place on Earth. However, the single father of five wasn’t wearing anything related to Disney—in fact, his shirt just had a few words.

The shirt read, “In need of a kidney. O Positive. Call 917-597-2651.”

Rocio Sandoval and her husband approached the man and asked if they could take his photo.

(Facebook/Rocio Yanira Sandoval)

In a post she shared on Facebook, Sandoval wrote that while she and her husband, Juan, were celebrating his birthday at Magic Kingdom, they came across a man with an interesting shirt. Her husband approached the man and asked if they could snap a photo and then share it online.

“This man turned around with the biggest smile, so grateful and said, ‘Yes, please!'” she wrote. “He gave us both a hug and said, ‘Thank you, please share this with the world.'”

At the time the couple didn’t realize it was the father who was in need of the kidney.

Leibowitz, who is 60 years old, has lived with kidney problems since he was about 12. According to ABC News, he is on dialysis three times a week for four hours each. It’s been three years since he started dialysis, and although he is currently listed on five separate donor lists, he has yet to receive any good news about a kidney donor.

Leibowitz’s youngest daughter suggested he wear a shirt asking for a kidney on their trip to Disney.

(Facebook/Max Leibowitz)

A few years ago wearing this kind of t-shirt asking the public for help wouldn’t have been something Leibowitz would have been interested in. He told Babble that it took him a while to ask his friends and family for help on Facebook.

“Everyone has problems,” he told Babble.

But he knew that wearing something at Disney meant a lot of exposure. And he was right. Since Sandoval shared the post on Facebook, it has been shared over 90,000 times.

“The response has been absolutely amazing. I get very emotional about it,” he told WFTV 9.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already seen Leibowitz’s plea for a kidney.

(Facebook/Robert Leibowitz)

Although a match hasn’t been found yet, Leibowitz and Sandoval say they have been fielding hundreds of inquiries in the form of calls, comments, and texts. He told ABC News that he estimates around 400 people have contacted him, and so far about 30 people have said they will fill out a donor application.

Even if this most recent plea for help doesn’t end with a donor match, Leibowitz gained some of his optimism back.

“The week before we left for the trip, I had just about given up,” he told ABC News. “Now I’m a new person. I’m cautiously optimistic.”