Kidney patients getting creative in search for donor matches

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Zach Becker is the creator of Cal the Kidney.

"You know the idea is that he's just terrible at his job so he just quits," says Zach Becker.

His web comic he's creating takes a page from his real life story.

Zach needs a new kidney.

"I had a lot of time in the hospital," says Becker.  "I spent about two weeks in the hospital.  I might as well be proactive and take the energy and turn it into something good."

His solution while waiting for an organ donor was to create a collaborative project.

He's come up with a musical album featuring local artists and storytellers, and he's also working on a web comic that tells the tale of a kidney that's gone kaput.

"It's getting more and more common with social media," says Ellen Qualls, Transplant Coordinator for St. Louis University Hospital.

Becker is not alone.

While he's using the information superhighway to spread the word, St. Charles resident Susan Sebacher is turning to local highways and roadways.

She's asked relatives to put magnetic stickers on their vehicles.

Ellen Qualls, the transplant coordinator for St. Louis University Hospital has seen an increase in the last five years of creative ways people are looking to raise awareness and hopefully find organ donors.

"Social media like Facebook, putting out a website, a letter to their community newspaper," says Qualls.  "Some people have actually sent out letters to their family and friends telling them of the need for a transplant."

In the meantime, while waiting on a match, Becker will be hard at work on the adventures of Cal the Kidney who will hopefully find a new home, just like his real life counterpart.

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