Charlotte County hero still looking for kidney donor

A Charlotte County man who risked his life twice to save others is asking for that same selflessness in return.

Sandy Bilsky of Englewood has been called a hero after rescuing two people from the Gulf, but now he’s searching for his own.

Bilsky has big plans for the summer. “I really would love to spend a couple of weeks with each grandchild this summer.”

Those big plans, for now, are impossible. He’s tethered to a dialysis machine three days a week and needs a new kidney. He could spend years on the national registry, so he has taken it upon himself to find a living donor.

“I know my donor has to still be out there.”

WINK News first introduced you to Bilsky in January when we told you about his need for a kidney.

“It was the WINK News story to our community that was receptive,” he said.

After that story aired, 12 people came forward, willing to donate an organ to a stranger.

“I will be grateful to them for the rest of my life just for stepping forward,” Bilsky said.

Four potential donors were an ideal match, with matching tissue and blood type. Two found out they had undiagnosed health issues. The remaining two were also medically disqualified.

“As much as we want to help your patient, we’ve had to make sure we don’t hurt the person donating,” said Dr. James Huang, director of the Living Kidney Donor Program at Tampa General Hospital.

“I am back at square one,” Bilsky said.

But he said that even though those four people who stepped up can’t donate to him, they’re still his heroes.

“If I had a better relationship with the Pope, I put them up for sainthood.”

His faith remains strong and he still believes there’s a saint somewhere who will see this story and step up to save his life.

Bilsky’s donor needs to have O-positive or O-negative blood and matching tissue. If you’d like to help, you can reach him at 401-741-4927 or by email at [email protected].

For information on becoming a living donor, click here.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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