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Northern Kentucky family in search of kidney gets helping hand from design firm

The goal is more time. The Willoughby family hopes more shirts can help get them there.
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Tri-State company is helping a family find a kidney for their loved one.

Kevin Willoughby, 59, has been on the transplant list since 2014. Three times he thought he was getting a new kidney only to have it fall through.

“When I was born,” Kevin explained, “one kidney was smaller than the other.”

For most of his life, the 59-year-old’s kidneys have worked fine. But in his mid-30s, their function began to deteriorate: “It just got worse and worse.”

Kevin has spent the last seven years on dialysis. He says he dealt with it alright until the last four months when it got “really bad.”

With friends and family unable to donate, Kevin’s wife of 31-years, Debby Willoughby, had an idea.

“With his kidney now starting to fail more, I had to do something,” Debby said.

She reached out to Gabbard G7 Designs to make t-shirts. Now, when Kevin, his family or his friends walk around in public, they’re often a walking billboard asking for help.

Hearing their story, the company waived their design and printing fees, meaning all the Willoughbys had to do is buy the shirts.

“It’s not all about the money for us,” Cinnamon Gabbard, founder of G7 Designs, said. “It’s about helping people out.”

Debby said when she learned of the waived fees, she realized she could get more shirts. And more shirts mean more people walking around in them, potentially being seen by someone who can help give her and Kevin more years together.

“I know we’re going to have more grandbabies, and I would just love for him to be here, be here for them,” she said.

If you would like to get tested to see if you’re a match, you can email Kevin at kevinneedskidney@gmail.com.

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