Who We Are

Hi! I’m Andrew Astarita,
Founder and Kidney Recipient.

I’ve been given a chance to write this story free of all dialysis tubes and free of future worries. You see, I feel that I have been blessed. I was very fortunate to receive a kidney from a stranger who understood that they could help save other people’s lives by being an organ donor when they died.

Like many others, I inherited Polycystic Kidney Disease, which causes clusters of cysts to develop in the kidneys. The cysts can grow very large, killing the kidneys. I started campaigning for a living kidney donor when my overall kidney function fell to 20 percent. I did everything possible to spread the word that I needed a kidney donor. I created a Facebook page and website, AndrewNeedsAKidney.com. I put signs on my car, but knew I needed to go big! With funds from GoFundMe, I could advertise on electronic billboards along South Florida’s busy highways. Soon the message, My Daddy Needs A Kidney, with a picture of my daughter and me, was on billboards across Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

A billboard in Miami caught the attention of a local ABC news anchor and reporter. Before long, he and his team were at my front door, and it was network TV interview time! The news spread quickly, all the way to New York City. I was then contacted by a wonderfully gracious person who offered to put my message on the largest billboard in Times Square for no charge. That billboard, nicknamed The Beast, blasted Times Square with all its mightiness, my daughter’s wish for someone to be my donor.

Unfortunately, that billboard, with all its lights and size, and all the news stories that followed it, did not yield a possible donor. Feeling defeated, I continued to work my way onto two local hospitals’ donor lists. Little did I know of God’s plan. Five weeks after getting listed, I got a late-night call from the Miami Transplant Institute that would change my life. They found a kidney match from a gracious deceased donor in Pennsylvania, and with my new, lifesaving kidney on an airplane, I, too, was headed to Miami at 4 a.m. Before I knew it, I woke up in a hospital bed with my new kidney. No more dialysis! With few worries, my kidney was doing its job well. What a feeling of freedom! Recovery did not come easy, or without its issues. But I am a new man now!

I am thankful to God and the person who chose to be an organ donor. Who knows how many lives they changed or saved? One deceased organ donor can save up to eight lives! It is known that organ donors change people’s lives forever, and living donors can live a longer, more joyful life after donation. I ask you to consider being an organ donor now or after death. Help save a life – or eight! Let people know you want to be an organ donor by signing up on your driver’s license or ID, and tell your family about your intentions.

Thank you to everyone who helped and stood by me when I needed you most.